Flu Fatigue: Doctor's Advice for Recovery

Flu Fatigue: Doctor's Advice for Recovery

Publication date: 07-03-2024

Updated on: 08-03-2024

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Estimated reading time: 1 min

The years 2023-2024 were, as is often the case, intense years for influenza, although in fact the data suggests that we are absolutely average and 90% of cases have a benign course.

In some cases, even once you have recovered, there are more or less significant after-effects, including a post-influenza fatigue from which you struggle to recover. So what awaits us out of the acute phase? How long is the hospitalization and, most importantly, when can we say we are definitely out of it?

We asked Dr. Diana Canetti, an infectious disease physician at the Infectious Diseases Unit of IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, directed by Professor Antonella Castagna.

How long the convalescence lasts

"Once the fever has passed, that is, it resolves spontaneously without the help of anti-fever medications, and the symptoms have improved, it is recommended to rest for at least 1 more day (24 hours) and then you can try to resume your daily activities," Dr. Canetti explains. 

This does not mean that one should not use antipyretics, which are the right thing to take in case of high fever, but one should stop taking them when one begins to feel better, or in any case reduce them until the fever goes down on its own."

Post-flu fatigue: need to worry?

Exhaustion represents one of the most frequent after-effects of influenza, as well as one of the most persistent. "More than worrying," she continues, "it is necessary to understand well how to deal with it without being alarmed, because it is a completely normal reaction and is most likely to depend on both how intense the flu syndrome was and how the person dealt with it. 

In fact, several factors enable us to overcome such an illness more or less quickly, in a sense “protecting” us. These include:

  • proper nutrition;
  • proper hydration;
  • good regenerative rest;
  • obviously in case of flu, this should be discontinued on the most acute days, but when you start feeling better, resuming it gradually can help!"

Doctor's advice

"Don't be in a hurry to fully resume your daily activities if you don't feel you are in top shape," Canetti concludes. Rather, let's take it as a recovery period for our body and dedicate ourselves deeply to it, listening to what it needs. Here are some small but effective tips to always keep in mind:

  • respect recovery time: rest is recommended for at least another 24 hours after spontaneous disappearance of fever and symptoms;
  • take nutraceuticals on expert advice: taking nutritional supplements (e.g., multivitamins and omega-3s) throughout the year contributes to our health and can help us arrive at the flu season in better overall condition;
  • avoid excessive self-medication, especially the use of antibiotics: sometimes, exhaustion and persistent symptoms can be a side effect of improperly taken medications. It is always recommended to consult your doctor or pharmacist of choice who will certainly know how to prescribe the most appropriate and effective therapy;
  • observe good hydration: water or unsweetened beverages in quantities appropriate to your weight are especially helpful in replenishing what is lost during sweating caused by fever.

How much to drink to rehydrate?

The specialist provides a simple formula that can help figure out how much fluid the body would need during and after the flu: "Practical example for healthy people: centimeters of height + kilograms of weight, divided by 100 liters of water per day. 

In case of fever, about 0.5 liters of fluids for every degree of fever above 37°C."

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