by Adam Corl
It’s probably not news to you that it’s flu season, and if you’re like most people you have noticed friends and co-workers dropping like flies as they succumb to this seasonal menace.
First off, and this probably goes without saying, GET VACCINATED. This is some seriously solid advice, and is totally worth the trip to your doctor’s office or pharmacy. The vaccine is not the silver bullet we wish it was though.
The fact is the vaccine has about a 60% chance of preventing you from getting the flu. This is pretty standard for a flu vaccine, but simple math tells us that the more people that get vaccinated the less likely it is you will end up hacking up a lung on your couch for a week and a half.
Important side-note: If you are looking for excuses not to get the vaccine you are really only left with 1 - being a wuss who is scared of needles or 2 - you suffer from a rare form of laziness which forces you to watch Real housewives instead of keeping you and your peeps healthy.
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, and only in rare cases does it give a person a mild fever. This is just your body responding to the vaccine and getting your immune system ready to fight the real deal.
If you end up getting the short end of the stick and catch the flu:
First - judge yourself hardcore for not getting vaccinated. Second steps should involve a lot of water drinking, TV watching, and rest. Time is really your best friend in this situation. Chicken soup seems to be the only treatment that people can agree on. Doctors have still not come to a consensus on the medications that claim to shorten the duration of the flu.
So how do you tell if that yucky-sick feeling is a cold or the flu? It can be kind of hard to tell at first, but generally a cold is characterized by localized symptoms. That is - symptoms that affect only one spot of your body (think a soar throat or a gnarly cough). The flu is different in the fact that it is a respiratory infection, but it causes chaos all over your body, giving you symptoms everywhere.
Typical symptoms include dry-ish cough, sneezing, fever, body aches, chills, and headaches. The big telltale symptom is a general “yucky” feeling that seems to affect your entire body.
Most of these symptoms are seen in both colds and the flu, but flu symptoms are generally more sever (fevers tend to be higher).
Generally speaking the flu is a nuisance and should not be treated like the plague. The flu can sometimes lead to more serious infections like bronchitis or pneumonia. This makes it pretty dangerous for the very old and the very young. For most of us it is really just a week from hell punctuated by moments of reality TV nirvana.