When To See Your Gp
Consider visiting your GP if:
- you’re 65 years of age or over
- you’re pregnant
- you have a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease or a neurological disease
- you have a weakened immune system for example because you’re having chemotherapy or have HIV
- you develop chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or start coughing up blood
- your symptoms are getting worse over time or haven’t improved after a week
In these situations, you may need medication to treat or prevent complications of flu. Your GP may recommend taking antiviral medicine to reduce your symptoms and help you recover more quickly.
Treat Your Cold At Home
There are plenty of home remedies that can alleviate your symptoms and get you back to normal. If you still feel sick after a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor. And if you have trouble breathing, have a rapid heartbeat, feel faint, or experience other severe symptoms, get medical help sooner.
Lack Of Hygiene And Handwashing
When youre traveling, its likely youll come into contact with many different people, areas, and surfaces. As we mentioned earlier, your immune system may already be weakened from the effects of traveling, making you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. If you do not take the proper precautions to wash your hands regularly, you can be exposing yourself to other peoples germs. If possible, bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you wherever you go and practice basic handwashing techniques as regularly as you can.
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Sleep As Much As Possible
Sleep is the best medicine for your body while fighting the flu. Watching TV curled up on the couch isnt a bad idea, but you shouldnt be binge-watching your favorite Netflix show all night long.
Go to bed earlier than usual and sleep in. You can also take a nap during the day to give your body more time to recover.
Rest and sleep also reduces your risk of serious flu complications, like pneumonia.
It can be difficult to sleep with a stuffy nose and cough. Try these tips to breathe easier and have a better nights sleep:
- Use an extra pillow to prop up your head and ease sinus pressure.
- Sleep with a humidifier or vaporizer in the room.
- Take a hot bath or shower before bed.
Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Make sure you get more liquids. It doesnât all have to be water — fruit juices, sports drinks, and broth-based soups also count. They keep your respiratory system hydrated and help turn that nasty, thick mucus into a thin liquid you can cough up and spit out. Thatâs good — if it builds up in your lungs it could lead to an infection.
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Can Colds And The Flu Be Cured With Medications
No medicines can “cure” colds and flu. However, there are many over-the-counter medicines that can ease the discomfort caused by the symptoms of colds and flu. In addition, there are prescription medicines and a vaccine that can treat and prevent the flu.
Note on antibiotics: Colds and the flu are causes by viruses and cannot be cured with antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as strep throat and ear, skin and urinary tract infections. Using antibiotics for infections they are not able to treat makes the antibiotics less effective for infections they are supposed to treat . Never take antibiotics to treat colds and flu.
To ease the discomfort from specific cold and flu symptoms, consider using the following types of OTC medicines:
Flu: What To Do If You Get Sick
Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*Its important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
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How To Prevent Flu
The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu and spreading it to others.
It’s best to get the vaccine in early October- the start of the flu season.
You should get the flu vaccine every year to lower your risk of getting the flu virus. This is because the type of types of flu viruses that are circulating every year are different.
Plan To Stay Home For A Bit Especially If You Have A Fever
You should not go to work or school if you have the flu. If youre sick, you should stay home. You need to rest, and it can stop you from spreading germs around town.
Its particularly important to stay home if you have a fever, and for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away . Why? Because youre most contagious when you have a fever and the day after it breaks.
Other Bugs Can Also Cause Those Flu
Amanda Gardner is a freelance health reporter whose stories have appeared in cnn.com, health.com, cnn.com, WebMD, HealthDay, Self Magazine, the New York Daily News, Teachers & Writers Magazine, the Foreign Service Journal, AmeriQuests and others. In 2009, she served as writer-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She is also a community artist and recipient or partner in five National Endowment for the Arts grants.
Maggie ONeill is a health writer and reporter based in New York who specializes in covering medical research and emerging wellness trends, with a focus on cancer and addiction. Prior to her time at Health, her work appeared in the Observer, Good Housekeeping, CNN, and Vice. She was a fellow of the Association of Health Care Journalists 2020 class on Womens Health Journalism and 2021 class on Cancer Reporting. In her spare time, she likes meditating, watching TikToks, and playing fetch with her dog, Finnegan.
Considering that the flu can spread like wildfire among unvaccinated communities, it’s tempting to worry that every cough, muscle ache, and hint of a fever is a sign you caught the flu.
That’s understandable, given that there are a ton of other illnesses that bring on copycat flu-like symptoms, like fever, cough, runny nose, and headaches, among others, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Here are a few of the many conditions that can cause flu-like symptoms, but aren’t the flu.
Ask Your Doctor About Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral drugs are only available by prescription, so you must see a doctor first. These medications are typically reserved for people who are at high risk of developing complications from the flu.
These drugs prevent the virus from growing and replicating. They work best if you take them within 48 hours of having symptoms.
You may want to ask a doctor for a prescription antiviral if you:
- are under age 5
- are 18 or under and taking aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications
- are at least 65
- are pregnant or have given birth in the last two weeks
- have a chronic medical condition or youre taking other medications that weaken your immune system
- live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- are Native American
- are extremely obese, with a body mass index of at least 40
The antiviral medication most commonly prescribed is oseltamivir . In October 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved baloxavir marboxil , a new antiviral for people ages 12 and older.
Taking antiviral medications within two days of the onset of symptoms may reduce both the duration of the flu by about one day and the severity of symptoms.
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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:
In adults, core warning signs signaling a need for urgent medical attention include:
The Beginning: Symptom Onset
The timeline between exposure, infection and the first signs of flu symptoms is typically about two days, but can range from one to four days.
When you start to feel sick, it seems sudden. And if youre like many people, the first symptoms you notice may be fever or chills, which are followed quickly by headache, muscle aches, cough and/or extreme tiredness.
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Flu Vs The Common Cold
The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the flu and a cold, but usually influenza symptoms are much more intense.
With a cold, its common to experience mild cold symptoms, like a runny nose and congestion. The flu is more likely to cause body aches, fever and headache, and it may cause serious health problems, like bacterial infections, pneumonia and even hospitalization.
Preventing The Spread Of Flu
You can help stop yourself catching flu or spreading it to others with good hygiene measures.
Always wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, as well as:
- regularly cleaning surfaces such as your computer keyboard, telephone and door handles to get rid of germs
- using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- putting used tissues in a bin as soon as possible
You can also help stop the spread of flu by avoiding unnecessary contact with other people while you’re infectious. You should stay off work or school until you’re feeling better.
In some people at risk of more serious flu, an annual flu vaccine or antiviral medication may be recommended to help reduce the risk of becoming infected.
- difficulty sleeping
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Treat Aches And Fever
You may want to treat it if you are uncomfortable or have any of the aches that come with it. with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Ask your doctor which is right for you.
Symptoms Of The Cold Flu Allergies And Covid Can Be Similar Here’s How To Spot The Difference
Weve all been there. You wake up with a sore throat, then come the aches and the congestion that feels like it may cause your head to explode.
Is it a cold or allergies? Or something worse, like the flu or even COVID-19? Should you see your healthcare provider, or just stay home and get rest?
While a cold and the flu have similar symptoms, the flu is much more severe and can result in serious health problems, says Dr. Richard Martin, a family medicine physician at Geisinger Mt. Pleasant in Scranton. “Add allergies and COVID-19, and it can be even more complex to know whether you should call your doctor or get a COVID test.”Lets take a look at how to spot the difference and get you on the road to recovery ASAP.
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Can The Flu Be Prevented
There is a vaccine available for the flu, and its recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months has a flu vaccination every year.
Flu viruses circulating in the community continually change, and the immunity provided by the vaccine doesnt last a long time. That’s why yearly vaccination is recommended.
For more information about the flu vaccine, see Flu Vaccine FAQs.
Everyday items at home and in public places can easily become contaminated with traces of these viruses including food, door handles, remote controls, handrails, telephone handsets and computer keyboards.
Good hygiene is one of the best ways to help prevent colds and flu and to prevent them from spreading.
What Is The Period Flu
Do you start feeling sick before you get your period? You may be experiencing whats known as the period flu. It refers to a combination of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms that are typically grouped under premenstrual syndrome .
These symptoms can begin anywhere from a week or two before the first day of your period or during your period. Their severity ranges from mild to moderate to severe.
Moyo Studio / Getty Images
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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.
Heres How To Treat Flu
Though there are no medications available to treat a viral flu-like illness, there are over-the-counter medications and other methods that can help to ease your symptoms. They include:
- A combination cold medication can help to relieve many of the symptoms of colds and other flu-like illnesses, including fever, cough and congestion.
- Steam from a humidifier or shower can also be helpful in relieving a stuffy nose and soothing achy muscles.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay well-hydrated viruses can quickly cause dehydration.
- Get plenty of rest your body needs it to fight off the virus or infection.
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Antibiotics Cannot Treat Any Virus Including The Flu But They Can Treat Some Flu
Its a common misconception that antibiotics will be helpful in treating any illness, but its simply not the case. Antibiotics are not effective against an illness caused by a virus, only those caused by bacteria. This means that antibiotics will be useless in treating influenza, the common cold, or any other flu-like illness thats caused by a virus. However, if your flu-like illness turns out to be a condition thats caused by bacteria such as strep throat and some types of pneumonia antibiotics may be necessary to treat the infection.
When You First Get Sick
Most people will only have mild-to-moderate flu symptoms, and they may only experience some of the possible symptoms of the disease.
The CDC recommend that people who experience any flu symptoms should stay home and rest. They should only leave home to make necessary trips, such as to see their doctor or buy groceries.
Staying inside and resting will help the body fight off the virus. It will also reduce the risk of it spreading to other people.
A person should talk to a doctor as soon as possible after any signs of the flu occur. Doing this is particularly important for people at risk of complications, such as older adults and people who smoke.
The also recommend talking to a doctor about antiviral medication during a local flu outbreak. Antiviral medications can prevent severe symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness.
According to the NIH, an antiviral medication is most effective within the first 48 hours of developing symptoms. Therefore, it is best to talk to a doctor as soon as possible about these treatments.
A doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic if there is a risk of other bacterial infections, such as pneumonia.
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Stay Home And Get Plenty Of Rest
Mind your flu manners. On the first day you have symptoms, call your work or school and tell them you wonât be coming in for a few days. You’re sick — and very contagious! Take advantage of down time and give your body some much-needed rest. Curl up on the couch and spend some time reading, watching DVDs, or just cat-napping while your body battles the virus.