How long are you contagious when you have the flu?
As I’m sure we all know, viruses are passed through the air via coughs and sneezes however, touch also allows for the spread of germs.1 We are infectious for around 3-7 days after our first contact with a virus, though symptoms generally last much longer than this.
How many days does it take to recover from the flu?
The flu, which is caused by contact with a virus, usually lasts between 7-10 days. It causes symptoms similar to the common cold such as coughing, headaches, fever and aches and pains. It may also result in fatigue which can take a little longer to recover from.
If this combination of symptoms persists much longer than 10 days then I’d recommend you get a quick health check from your doctor.
How can I boost my immune system after a virus?
In order to tackle a flu virus and help prevent further infection the immune system must be in good shape. As I discuss below, we can boost our immune system using our diet however, the Echinacea plant can also bring support.
Our Echinaforce Echinacea Drops help to strengthen the immune system but may also be used to fight the misery of a current bout of cold or flu. It can be taken at the first sign of infection to help speed up recovery or longer term to support the immune system more generally.
Echinaforce contains fresh extracts of both the root and the aerial part of the Echinacea plant as research shows this is more effective than dried extracts which are more commonly used in this kind of product.2
What should you eat and drink when recovering from the flu?
Fresh produce is the best option if you are recovering from a bout of flu as, unlike processed goods, these are rich in natural vitamins and minerals. Fruit such as oranges, strawberries and kiwi, for example, contain lots of vitamin C which supports the immune system and, in doing so, speeds up recovery. Vitamin C stores can also decline when the body is exposed to a virus and so again, loading up on foods rich in it will aid recovery.
Garlic is another immune-boosting food as it contains antioxidants and anti-microbial properties that help to defend against infection. We can’t really munch on this ingredient as we would an orange, kiwi or strawberry though, so as an alternative you could try a supplement such as our Swiss Garlic Capsules.
With an abundance of blueberries, which contain that all-important vitamin C, our blueberry and oatmeal smoothie is ideal in the post-flu period. This particular smoothie makes a healthy and filling breakfast, plus it tastes great! Alongside this, it also contains immune-boosting vitamin B, as well as lots of antioxidants.
As you get over flu symptoms though, a smoothie isn’t the only beneficial drink. As it is an excellent source of magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium and vitamin D, our Balance Mineral Drink may also be helpful at this time. This combination of ingredients helps to reduce fatigue and tiredness which can continue long after other flu symptoms have eased.
How long should I wait to exercise after flu?
Exercising whilst you have the flu is not advisable as the body needs time to recover which it simply can’t get if you’re in the gym for an hour each day. On top of this, exercising when you’re ill risks making symptoms more severe and, whether you are in a running club or play badminton once a week, you risk making your sporting companions ill if you participate with the flu.
I’d recommend you don’t return to sport until a week after your flu symptoms have eased. This will ensure you have given your body the space it needs to recover, plus when you do go back you’ll be in top form!
When should I return to work after flu?
In the initial stages of infection flu symptoms can be quite severe. If this is the case it is best to take some time off work to allow your body to recover and if this isn’t possible then, at the very least, request to work from home. At this time you may still be infectious, not to mention the fact that you’ll probably disrupt the work of your colleagues with coughing, so this gives further justification for staying in bed!
The temptation is to return to work as quickly as possible to minimise disruption however, in the long run this is only likely to make you feel worse. How long you take off will depend on how severe your symptoms are but generally, they should go away after about 5 days and at this point you should be able to return to work comfortably.
Our top post-flu recovery tips!
- Get plenty of rest, even after your symptoms have eased
- Don’t return to work too quickly, and don’t be afraid to take some time off in the first place
- Don’t exercise until at least a week after your symptoms have gone
- Get plenty of immune-boosting vitamin C into your diet
- Use Echinacea to give the immune system some extra support
- Fill your diet with antioxidant-rich foods
2 Tobler M et al. Characteristics of whole fresh plant extracts. Schweiz. Zschr. GanzheitsMedizin 1994; 6 (5): 257-266