Weakness and Fatigue (cont.)
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Check Your Symptoms
If you have generalized weakness and fatigue along with other symptoms, evaluate those symptoms. Home treatment for your other symptoms usually will improve your weakness and fatigue. Mild generalized weakness and fatigue that occur with a viral illness usually improve with the following home treatment measures.
- Get extra rest while you are ill. Let your symptoms be your guide.
- If you have a cold, you may be able to stick to your usual routine and just get some extra sleep.
- If you have the flu, you may need to spend a few days in bed.
- Return to your usual activities slowly to avoid prolonging the fatigue.
- Be sure to drink extra fluids to avoid dehydration.
If generalized weakness and fatigue are not related to another illness, follow the guidelines in the Prevention section and be patient. It may take a while for you to feel energetic again.
- Listen to your body. Alternate rest with exercise. Gradually increasing your exercise may help decrease your fatigue.
- Limit medicines that might contribute to fatigue. Tranquilizers and cold and allergy medicines often cause fatigue.
- Improve your diet. Eating a balanced diet may increase your energy level. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Reduce your use of alcohol or other drugs, such as caffeine or nicotine, which may contribute to fatigue.
- Cut back on watching television. Spend that time with friends, try new activities, or travel to break the fatigue cycle.
- Get a good night's sleep. This may be the first step toward controlling fatigue.
- Eliminate all sound and light disturbances.
- Do not eat just before you go to bed.
- Use your bed only for sleeping. Do not read or watch TV in bed.
- Get regular exercise but not within 3 to 4 hours of your bedtime.
- For more information, see Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
- New symptoms develop along with the weakness and fatigue.
- Depression or anxiety increases despite home treatment.
- Symptoms of weakness or fatigue increase despite home treatment.
- Symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of home treatment.
- Symptoms become more severe or more frequent.