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Why Your Muscles Ache During a Bout with the Flu

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While our immune system is hard at work fighting off millions of viruses at one time we ultimately suffer through the symptoms of the flu. Muscle aches in particular can keep you in bed and out of work for more than you’d like but what is happening in your body to cause these aches?

In short, our body, during the flu is dehydrated. The symptoms of the flu are most often an amplified version of the common cold and this symptom is no exception. As our bodies fight off viral infections the body heats up in order to kill off bacteria. In order to do this, our cells must use a significant amount of the body’s water source. In conjunction with a fever we lose our appetite and thirst and tend to refuse to replenish our weakening body. This refusal is often tied in with the fact that more often than not a symptom of the flu is the persistent loss of fluids through vomiting and/or diarrhea. This is where the body loses its most important defense against dehydration, electrolytes. Electrolytes, it seems, are underrated in their importance and their ability to save lives. In developing countries, oral dehydration tablets, which consist of sodium and potassium, can save the lives of children who suffer from diarrhea who would otherwise perish without treatment.

Our levels of sodium and potassium in our systems can drastically effect the condition of our body and its ability to recover from common flu symptoms. In particular, potassium is a critical element to your strength and energy. Low potassium results in a delay or obstruction in your muscle cells disabling their natural function leaving you weak and with the feeling of a full body ache.

To keep your body hydrated and strong during the flu try your best to eat foods high in potassium such as avocados, bananas, and spinach. Drink as much water as you can stomach and pump up with electrolytes with sports drinks like Gatorade. Give back to your body everything it needs to fight off the nasty flu. Your immune system is working overtime to get you back on your feet so return the favor and replenish all the things you’re losing.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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