Brewery District Dental, right here in New Westminster, BC.
Typical Flu Symptoms
What most people call the flu is a viral infection that causes upper respiratory symptoms. However, gastrointestinal flu can also occur during flu season. These illnesses are caused by influenza viruses – yes, more than one. Flu strikes quickly, with fever, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, headache and cough. People with gastrointestinal flu will have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and sometimes a low-grade fever. The virus is spread through droplets when you cough, sneeze or even talk. Viruses can also live on surfaces, especially a wet surface like your toothbrush, for as long as 72 hours.
When You Have a Sore Throat or Vomiting
A sore throat is not uncommon with flu. While cough drops or lozenges may bring some relief, look for the sugar-free version. Keeping sugar in constant contact with your teeth increases the risk of tooth decay. Vomiting allows stomach acids to come in direct contact with your tooth enamel. Rinse with water or diluted mouth wash just after vomiting. You can also use a dilute solution of baking soda and water, which neutralizes the acid. Don’t brush immediately after vomiting, as it means you’re rubbing the acid on your teeth – wait about 30 minutes.
Oral Health Care
It’s never a good idea to share your toothbrush, but that’s even more important when you’ve got the flu. You can also protect others by covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. While the risk of reinfection from your toothbrush
is relatively low, a toothbrush should be replaced every three or four months anyway. Stay hydrated by drinking water – not sports drinks or anything else that contains sugar and/or acids. Tea and chicken soup are both comforting hot drinks. Get plenty of rest to help your body heal.
A strong immune system can help protect you against flu. Your body develops antibodies each time you are infected and these will attack viruses and bacteria. Good oral hygiene practices help lower the numbers of infectious organisms in the mouth. Sugar depresses the T-cells which naturally combat infective agents like flu viruses, so limit sugar or avoid it entirely. Make sure you get enough sleep, as sleep deprivation lowers your ability to fight infections. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The BC Centre for Disease Control also recommends an annual influenza shot, especially if your immune system is compromised.
Most people recover from flu within a few days to a week with home care strategies. If you’re really feeling bad, do see a doctor. Once you’ve recovered, give us a call
at Brewery District Dental at 604-522-2425, to make an appointment with a dentist for regular preventive dental care