Managing Your Symptoms At Home
If you’re otherwise healthy, you can look after yourself at home by resting, keeping warm and drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
If you’re concerned about coronavirus , be mindful of our ibuprofen advice on the coronavius page.
If you feel unwell and have a fever, you can take paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen to lower your temperature and relieve aches. Children under 16 shouldn’t be given aspirin.
Stay off work or school until you’re feeling better. For most people, this will take about a week. See your GP if your symptoms get worse or last longer than a week.
Read the page on preventing flu for more information about stopping the infection spreading to others.
People Who Need More Than One Influenza Vaccine A Year
There are some people who are recommended to have a second dose of the influenza vaccine within the space of one year. These people include:
- Children less than 9 years of age receiving their influenza vaccine for the first time require 2 doses 4 weeks apart for an adequate immune response.
- People who have had a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant and are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time after transplant.
- Pregnant women, who may be vaccinated with the next seasons influenza vaccine if it becomes available in the latter part of their pregnancy, even if they were vaccinated with the previous seasons vaccine prior to or earlier in pregnancy.
- Overseas travellers, who may benefit from a second dose of this seasons influenza vaccine if going to the northern hemisphere winter and receiving the northern hemisphere formulation there is not feasible.
Please check with your GP to find out whether you fall into one of these categories.
Flu Viruses Are Spread Though A Droplet Spread That Is Propelled How Far
“Droplet spread” is when respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing are propelled through the air and spread germs from person to person when they deposit on the mouth or nose of someone nearby. Flu viruses are spread though a “droplet spread” that is propelled up to 3 feet. These droplets can also land on objects or surfaces, and when another person touches an object or surface with droplets and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands they may contract the virus.
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Who Shouldnt Get The Flu Vaccine
You shouldnt get the influenza shot if you are
- Severely allergic to a previous dose of any influenza vaccine, regardless of the vaccine component suspected of being responsible for the reaction.
- Sick with a fever.
There is an option to get the nasal flu vaccine . The following groups of people shouldn’t get the nasal flu vaccine:
- Children and adolescents who are taking aspirin or any type of salicylate-containing medication therapies.
- Children who are 2-4 years of age who have been diagnosed with asthma or whose parents/caregivers can say that a healthcare provider has told them during the past 12 months that the child has had wheezing events or asthma or a child who has a wheezing episode documented in their medical record.
- Children or adults whose immune systems are compromised for any reason, including drugs or HIV infection.
- Caregivers or close contacts of severely immunosuppressed people who need a protected environment.
- Pregnant people.
- People who have received antiviral drugs to treat the flu within the past 48 hours.
Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot Protect Yourself And Others This Flu Season
The flu isnt like the common cold, it can hit quickly and last for weeks. For some people, the flu can have serious and devastating outcomes. Its important everyone in the community plays their part in helping stop the spread of flu.
Our message is simple: Don’t forget your flu shot. Protect yourself and others this flu season.
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How Is Influenza A Treated
If you have influenza, you are likely to get better within a week or so by:
- resting in bed
- taking mild pain relief to reduce your pain
- drinking plenty of liquids
- eating light foods when you are hungry
In some people, the flu can be severe and lead to serious complications such as pneumonia. This is mostly likely to affect the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people with chronic health problems.
If this sounds like you, your doctor might give you antiviral treatment to reduce your symptoms and prevent complications. These treatments are most effective when started within 2 days of flu symptoms appearing, so its important to ask your doctor whether this type of treatment is right for you.
Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections, so they won’t work for the flu, which is caused by viruses.
Flu Shot Side Effects
CDC note that the flu vaccine has a good safety record, and it cannot cause flu.
A person may experience the following adverse effects after having a vaccine, but these will be mild and usually pass within a few days.
- pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
- muscle aches
Around 12 people in every 1 million may develop a condition known as Guillain-Barr syndrome . However, people can also develop GBS after having flu, and the risk of this is higher than with the vaccine. The risk of developing GBS may be lower with the nasal spray version of the vaccine.
If someone experiences hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing after any vaccine, they should seek immediate medical help as these may be the sign of an allergic reaction. A severe reaction is known as anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
how to recognize anaphylaxis and what to do if it happens.
People who have previously had an allergic reaction to a vaccine should not have the flu shot.
Is the flu shot safe? Find out here.
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When To See Your Doctor
For your yearly flu shot. Everyone 6 months and older should visit a healthcare provider every year to get a flu vaccine. The best time to go is soon after the vaccine becomes available in the fall.
If you develop flu symptoms. If you do get sick, it is important for you to call your doctor as soon as possible to receive prompt treatment with antiviralsespecially if you are at high risk for complications. Antivirals can be effective in reducing the severity of flu and the duration of the disease.
For flu complications. Pneumonia can be caused by the flu virus or by bacteria that get into the lungs when the body’s defense system is weakened by the flu. See a doctor if you:
- Have difficulty breathing
- Experience chest pain as a result of coughing or
- Are coughing up yellow, green or bloody phlegm.
Other infections that may be associated with the flu include sinusitis, bronchitis and ear infections.
If your cough won’t go away. You may have a cough that lasts for weeks to months after flu symptoms go away and it may keep you up at night. This cough has been associated with asthma-like symptoms, and can be treated with asthma medications. Consult a healthcare provider if you have this kind of cough.
Flu Symptoms: When To Bring Your Child Into The Emergency Center
We are in the midst of one of the most severe flu seasons in a decade. Texas Childrens alongside hospitals across the nation have seen a major jump in flu-related emergency center visits over the past several weeks. Its important for parents to understand when they should or shouldnt bring their child into an emergency center with flu-like symptoms. The flu can cause a variety of symptoms and effects, ranging from mild to severe. Most healthy people, including children, can recover from the flu without complications, and don’t need to go to the emergency center or seek hospitalization. Symptoms of the flu can include:
- Fever or chills
A child with these regular flu-like symptoms can usually be cared for at home with fever-reducing medication, like Tylenol or Ibuprofen, clear fluids and bed rest. If diagnosed early enough, some children might benefit from Tamiflu, a medication that requires a prescription from your pediatrician. To ensure your child has fully recovered from the flu, he/she should stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. If your child’s flu-like symptoms return and worsen, or if your child is at high risk for developing flu-related complications , call your childs pediatrician to seek evaluation.
to schedule an appointment online.
You should seek immediate medical care in an emergency center if your child exhibits any of these core warning signs:
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Does Your Child Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine each year. Its especially important for children younger than 5 to get it because theyre more likely than older kids to have serious health problems caused by the flu. The flu can be dangerous for all children, even healthy children.
The best way to protect your child from the flu is to make sure he gets a flu vaccine each year before flu season . Even though your childs more likely to get the flu during flu season, he can get it any time of year.
There are two ways for your child to get the flu vaccine:
The first time your baby gets the flu vaccine, he gets two doses to give him the best protection from the flu. Your child gets one dose of the vaccine every year after.
If youre not sure which vaccine is best for your child, ask his health care provider. Visit flu.gov to learn more about flu vaccines.
What Are Signs And Symptoms That Your Baby Has The Flu
Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or youre coughing. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others cant see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy. If your baby has any of these signs and symptoms of the flu, call his health care provider right away or take him to see his provider:
- Being very tired or sleepy
- Fever , chills or body shakes. Not everyone who has the flu has a fever.
- Headache, or muscle or body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Vomiting or diarrhea
The flu often comes on quickly. Fever and most other signs and symptoms can last a week or longer. While your baby cant tell you how shes feeling, babies who have the flu often are sicker, fussier and seem more uncomfortable and unhappy than babies with a common cold. If you think your baby has the flu even if she got a flu vaccine, call her health care provider.
If your baby has any of these signs or symptoms, take her to a hospital emergency room:
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What Else Can I Do To Prevent Getting Colds And The Flu
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcoholic hand wipes. Cold and flu viruses are spread by touching your nose or mouth after touching an infected person, breathing in the air of an infected person’s sneeze or cough, or touching objects that have come in contact with the virus and then touching your nose.
Other prevention tips are to eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of liquids , and avoid close contact with people who have colds. Also, get an annual flu vaccine.
Lifestyle Tips For Avoiding Flu
Tips for avoiding infection include:
- practicing good hygiene, including frequent hand washing
- keeping the immune system strong by following a healthful diet
- quitting or avoiding smoking, as smokers are more likely to develop complications
- staying away from people who have the flu
People should also stay away from others when they have the flu to avoid spreading it themselves.
for more information on how to avoid flu.
up to 6 feet away from them when they cough, sneeze, talk, or breathe.
A healthy individual can pass on the virus a day before they, themselves, have symptoms. In other words, it is possible to pass on the flu before you know you have it. The infected individual can continue to transmit the virus for up to 57 days after symptoms appear.
People with a weakened immune system, older people, and young children may be able to pass on the virus for longer than this.
Flu is most contagious in the first 34 days after symptoms appear.
A person can develop flu symptoms if droplets that contain the virus and come from the breath of another person enter their mouth, nose, or lungs.
This transmission if:
- Someone without the virus is near a person with flu.
- Someone who is virus free handles an object a person with the virus has touched and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Research shows that just breathing can spread the flu virus. Learn more here.
For flu, this is , but it can vary from 1 to 4 days.
A person can transmit the virus even before symptoms appear.
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Who Should Get An Annual Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following groups receive an annual flu vaccine shot between November and February :
- All people aged six months and older.
It is especially important for certain individuals at high risk of flu complications and those who come in contact with people at high risk of complications to receive the flu vaccine. These people at high risk include:
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver disorders and chronic lung diseases.
- People with a weakened immune system, for example, people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or chronic steroid users.
- Household members and caregivers of patients at risk of complications from the flu.
- Women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season .
- Healthcare workers who come into close contact with patients in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare facilities.
- Infants and children ages six months through 18 years who are taking long-term aspirin therapy. This puts these individuals at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after flu infection.
- American Indians/Alaska natives.
- People who have close contact with children under five years of age for example, people who live with children, nannies and providers of daycare services.
- People who are morbidly obese .
What Are The Treatments For The Flu
Most people with the flu recover on their own without medical care. People with mild cases of the flu should stay home and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care.
But if you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider. You might need antiviral medicines to treat your flu. Antiviral medicines can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications. They usually work best when you start taking them within 2 days of getting sick.
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When Are You Contagious
If you are infected with the flu, you are most likely to pass it to someone else from 1 day before symptoms start and up to 7 days after symptoms develop. Children may be infectious for longer than 7 days after symptoms start.
Symptoms usually develop 1 to 4 days after you are infected. Because symptoms may not develop for a couple of days, you may pass the flu to someone before you know you have it.
How Is The Flu Treated
Specific treatment for the flu will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent and type of flu, and severity of symptoms
How long youve had symptoms
Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the disease
Your opinion or preference
The goal of treatment for the flu is to help prevent or decrease the severity of symptoms. Treatment may include:
Antiviral medicines. They can reduce how long youll have the flu, but they cant cure it. They have to be started within the first 2 days of the illness. These medicines do have some side effects, such as nervousness, lightheadedness, or nausea. These medicines are prescribed by a doctor.
Medicines. There are medicines for congestion and nasal discharge. You can also take medicine to relieve aches and fever. Do not give aspirin to children with fever. The drug of choice for children is acetaminophen.
Rest. Bed rest and increased intake of fluids.
Talk with your healthcare provider for more information.
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When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider If You Have Influenza
Because of the importance of taking flu medicines within 48 hours of coming down with symptoms, call immediately if you think you have the flu. If you continue to feel unwell after you have been treated for the flu, you should call your doctors office. If you find yourself feeling better, and then getting sick again, you should also contact your doctor. The flu might have left you with some kind of secondary illness, like a sinus infection.