When you get the flu or a nasty cold, doctors typically suggest you stay at home in bed. That's not always supposed to be taken literally, but speaking with The Wall Street Journal, medical director Daniel Neides explains what you should be doing.
Bed rest is meant for two things, to help you get better and to ensure you're not out infecting other people. For example, if you're sick and try to exercise, that can negatively affect your recovery time because your body releases stress hormones that affect the function of the white blood cells trying to fix you up. So, why bed rest? Neides explains:
"One of the many reasons we recommend 'bed rest' is because when you're lying down, the blood flow doesn't have to work against gravity," he adds. "But any position where you are calm and inactive is fine..."
It seems super self-explanatory when you walk out of the doctors office, but it's good to know the reasons behind that common recommendation. As far as when you should get out of bed and back to normal living is concerned, Niedes has a few suggestions:
"One thing I tell patients is, for every one day you're down with an infection, it takes three days to recover," Dr. Neides adds. "So if you're out of commission for two weeks, it will take six weeks to truly get back to your baseline level of energy."
Ways to get back to health include minimising exposure, staying nutritionally well-balanced and hydrated, and not exacerbating the illness by attempting to maintain normal activity. All that leads back to staying home and doing very little.
So, the next time you have the flu, take it slow on the recovery, take those days off for bed rest, and ease back into your daily routine.
Fighting the Flu: When You Need to Stay Home and in Bed [The Wall Street Journal]
Picture: Ryan Hyde/Flickr