There are ways you can shorten how long the flu lasts. All it takes is a little knowledge about how the flu virus works and also what you can do at home to both ease the symptoms and shorten the duration of the flu.
How Long is the Average Flu Duration?
On average, the flu will last up to a week for adults and up to two weeks for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a person is contagious beginning about a day before their symptoms start until about five to seven days later. This means that you could be spreading the flu for a day before you even know that you are sick.
Of course flu duration does change from year to year, and the CDC is constantly monitoring the illness for signs of severity so that it can make accurate predictions about flu duration and other questions that are specific to each flu season.
The CDC measures the severity of each flu season by looking at:
- Which strains of the flu virus are circulating
- How many doses of the flu vaccination are available
- The number of people who chose to get vaccinated for the flu
- How good of a match the current flu vaccine is for the current strains of the flu that are circulating.
Shortening Flu Duration
The Food and Drug Administration has approved four antiviral drugs to help with very severe cases of the flu, but their use should be limited. Instead there are a number of natural home remedies that not only can shorten the duration of the flu, but also ramp up your immune system so that you are better able to fight off the flu and other disease.
Try these home remedies to shorten flu duration:
- Cat’s claw
- Garlic (in capsule form)
- Vitamin C
Cutting Flu Duration Down to Zero
Of course the best way to protect yourself is to eliminate the flu altogether by practicing smart prevention techniques. Wash your hands with hot water and soap frequently to avoid spreading germs. Avoid touching your face until after you’ve washed your hands, especially if you’ve been in contact with a sick person.
Also remember to avoid sharing anything with a sick person, whether it’s towels, clothing, eating utensils, glasses, or anything else that might bring you in contact with their bodily fluids. If you are the one who’s sick, cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, and then wash your hands afterward.
Many people cough directly into their hand and then touch doorknobs or light switches. This is an excellent way to spread germs and make other sick without even realizing that you are doing it.