When the flu opens the gates of your body you know that nothing fun is coming. However, we often confuse the symptoms, and we think that maybe we have just a simple cold. There is a huge difference between a cold and the flu, not only in the heavier symptoms that come later, but also in whole process that happens to your body. Find out what really happens when you catch the flu.
In the first few hours
Every time a sick person coughs, they throw about 2,000 viral drops around. If you breathe in any of those or if you touch a subject that has glued some of them on it, and then rub your nose or eyes, those viral particles enter your nostrils and go into your airways. Unlike a simple cold that attacks the nose and the throat, the flu particles travel directly to the lungs. Your immune defense system immediately activates. It produces antibodies to destroy the virus, and if you have been vaccinated for the flu then you already have stored antibodies.
The next day or two
You are not aware that the virus is now using your body as a machine for copying viruses. Infected cells swell like balloons they fill with water and spread the virus around. Now you are contagious and whenever you sneeze or cough, you should put a handkerchief or your hand over your mouth.
Till the fourth day
Your immune system cannot deal with an angry flu spread around. Symptoms are getting crazy and you are exhausted with fever, headache, and intense muscle pain especially at night. Take medication to ease the pain. At this point, the virus is not the one that makes you feel bad. Misery comes from inflammation. Your immune system is alerted and your body is using whole of its energy to fight the flu. On the outside, you are tied to the bad and you cannot get up even if you wanted to go to the toilet. Then your body develops dry cough in order to stop dead cells to muddle your lungs. Your throat starts to hurt from the irritation and that stimulates the release of mucus.
In the next 3 to 5 days
The only thing left for your body is let the anti bodies do their work, but if you take the recommended dose antibiotics from your doctor, you will recover much faster. Do not bother taking vitamin C because it is already late for its benefit. You should drink water and other fluids and rest. If you are really out of luck, usually the safe throat bacteria can be hung in your lungs and eat the remains of dead cells, so you can get the risk of pneumonia.
After a week
Assuming that you avoided pneumonia, your immune system is finally recovering from the virus. Inflammation and symptoms gradually disappear. But you may still be infected another day or two. You may need even a whole week to feel completely healthy. So, in the future, wash your hands regularly so you would not attach a new flu virus. After handling people or touching things in public places, wash your hands with soap under a strong jet of water for at least 20 seconds. That way you will stop the virus before it attacks you.