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Signs of Influenza Seen through the Eyes

There are many easy ways to help protect yourself this season, and most methods should sound familiar: thorough hand washing, a mix of rest and regular physical activity, and lots of vitamin C are great habits for staying healthy. Avoiding direct contact with your eyes, nose and mouth, as well as avoiding close interaction with others who may be sick, are other simple preventative measures you should always take.

Good habits and vaccination are the most surefire ways to prevent a brush with the flu. However, in the early stages of any virus, your symptoms may be less detectable. A routine eye exam is one surprising way that flu symptoms may be detected before they become severe.

"There are a number of subtle signs in the eyes that can be an early indication of a virus like the cold or flu," explains Dr. Joel Kestenbaum, a VSP network doctor with Optix Family Eyecare Center in Long Island, NY. "We look underneath the lids and sometimes see what's called a papillary reaction—it looks like goose bumps. Redness, irritation—all of these things indicate that a patient is symptomatic."

Practical Ways to Fight the Flu

Be ready for battle this flu season with a few more helpful tips on staying virus free and, if need be, nursing yourself back to health.

Get a Flu Shot

Various strains of the flu virus pop up every year. That’s why it’s so important to get vaccinated this season, even if you received a flu shot last year. Check with your doctor, health insurance provider, or local pharmacist for availability.

Rest Up

It’s hardly the way anyone wants to spend a few days away from work, but getting plenty of rest—and avoiding sharing the virus with your friends and co-workers—is exactly what your body needs when you’ve come down with the flu. Stay home and help your antibodies help you by limiting your daily activity, taking it easy, and getting plenty of fluids and extra sleep.

Get Your Soup On

It may seem like an old wives’ tale, but all that grandmotherly advice about the healing powers of soup may actually ring true. Studies suggest that the ingredients in chicken noodle soup have therapeutic qualities and anti-inflammatory properties similar to those found in modern cold medicines. Keep some homemade, hearty ingredients on-hand to help you fight the flu with the ultimate comfort food.

Schedule an Eye Exam during Flu Season

Since an eye exam can detect flu symptoms before they become severe, scheduling an annual appointment during flu season may help provide you with a head start on beating the virus before it knocks you down. You can make an eye exam appointment for the upcoming flu season today.