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.
To Treat Congestion Or A Runny Nose
Some decongestant medicine may help to treat congestion or a runny nose, according to Cleveland Clinic, though decongestant nasal sprays should only be used for a few days.
To treat a runny or stuffy nose, Cleveland Clinic recommended getting rest and drinking plenty of fluids, especially water.
Saline nasal sprays can also help to relieve symptoms, along with a Neti pot or a cool-mist humidifier.
For other at-home remedies, Cleveland Clinic said to try using essential oils, drinking hot teas, taking a facial steam or hot shower and eating spicy foods.
How To Tell If You Have The Flu: Symptoms To Watch For
If youve started feeling sick, you may be wondering: The only way to know for sure is to get an influenza test. But there are some telltale differences in symptoms.
Cold symptoms tend to come on slowly first you might get a sore throat, a couple days later a runny or stuffy nose, and then maybe a wet cough settles in. The flu is usually the opposite, with symptoms setting in quickly and more intensely.
Some of the most common flu symptoms that you should be watching for include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
Recommended Reading: Are There Two Types Of Flu Shots This Year
Add Moisture To The Air
Dry air can make your symptoms worse. A vaporizer or humidifier adds moisture to the air and can help loosen up congestion.
There are many types of humidifiers and vaporizers available on the market. Examples include cool-mist humidifiers and steam vaporizers. These can be found easily for a reasonable price at your local big-box store, pharmacy, or online.
Why Use A Nebulizer Instead Of An Inhaler
Inhalers are convenient handheld devices that introduce puffs of medicine into your respiratory system. While handy, inhalers may not necessarily be the most efficient way to get medication into the lungs of people who have trouble using them correctly. Inhalers require a special breathing technique. While using an inhaler sounds easy, it can be challenging for the very young or the elderly who struggle to breathe, especially for those with other lung conditions that make it difficult to inhale deeply.
With nebulizers, patients simply have to breathe normally, and the medication is then delivered deeply to their lungs. These machines require no special techniques whatsoever and are much easier on those who may struggle to breathe.
Also Check: How Early Can You Get A Flu Shot
Flu Treatment #: Maintain A Diet Rich In Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
For many people, flu knocks out their appetite. If youre healthy, youll not need to worry about this for a couple of days. When you are up to eating, its tempting to reach for comfort foods like cookies and ice cream, but youre better off opting for a healthy green salad, a superfood smoothie, or some good old homemade vegetable or chicken soup.
Prescription Medications: Antiviral Drugs
Prescription antiviral drugs can help reduce flu symptoms and prevent related complications. These drugs prevent the virus from growing and replicating.
Common antiviral prescriptions include neuraminidase inhibitors:
Food and Drug Administration also approved a new medication called baloxavir marboxil in October 2018. It can treat people ages 12 years and older who have had flu symptoms for less than 48 hours. It works differently than the neuraminidase inhibitors.
For maximum effectiveness, antiviral drugs must be taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. If taken right away, antiviral medications can also help shorten the duration of the flu.
Antiviral medications are also used in flu prevention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , neuraminidase inhibitors have a 70 to 90 percent success rate in preventing the flu.
During a flu outbreak, a doctor will often give individuals who have a higher chance of contracting the virus an antiviral along with the flu vaccine. This combination helps bolster their defenses against infection.
People who cant be vaccinated can help their bodys defenses by taking an antiviral drug. People who cannot be vaccinated include infants younger than 6 months and people who are allergic to the vaccine.
Overuse can also limit availability for individuals at higher risk who need this medication to prevent serious flu-related illness.
The antiviral medications most commonly prescribed are:
You May Like: Stop And Shop Flu Shot
Learn How To Distinguish Covid
As COVID-19 remains prevalent in the U.S. and our community, many people have questions about the differences between the cold, the flu and the coronavirus how to know which of these viruses you have and when to seek medical attention. Although the cold, the flu and COVID-19 viruses have many similarities, there are also some important differences you need to know. Keep reading for more information.
The Donts Of Giving Your Child Over
- Dont give your child aspirin or aspirin-containing products if he might have the flu. These include all brands and types of the following:
- Dont give your child cough or cold medicine when also giving him fever-reducing medicines unless under the direction of his doctor. Cough and cold medicines do not treat the flu, and some ingredients may cause serious side effects for children younger than 6 years old.
If at any point you have questions about dosages or combining certain types of medications, dont hesitate to contact your childs pediatrician or reach out to your pharmacist. They are the experts in treating children of all ages and sizes, and they will know best about how to properly give your child medicine to help fight off flu symptoms.
Most fevers are harmless, but parents may still worry whether their child needs medicine to help lower his temperature. Heres a helpful guide:
- Infants younger than 3 months old whose temperature reaches 100.4°F or higher should be evaluated by a doctor because fevers in infants can indicate a serious illness.
- Kids between 3 months and 3 years old with a fever of 102.2°F or higher also require a call to your pediatrician.
Either ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to help reduce your childs fever and ease body aches and pain, Dr. Jernigan said. However, these medications have age and weight guidelines and should not be combined without direction from a healthcare professional, as it can be very dangerous for your child.
Read Also: Best Otc Medication For Flu
What To Do When Its Not The Flu: Treating A Flu
People often use the term flu to describe any illness that causes many of the same symptoms of flu. But they may actually have whats called a flu-like illness. A flu-like illness causes many of the same symptoms as the flu but is caused by something other than the flu virus.So, how can you tell if what you have is the flu and what can you do to feel better? Heres what you need to know
Bonus Step: Get Your Annual Flu Shot This Year And Every Year
There are many reasons why you should get a flu shot, even if youve heard any flu shot myths to the contrary. When you get a flu shot, youre up to 60% less likely to get the flu, according to the CDC. And studies also show that if you do get sick with the flu, your symptoms will be less severe and youre less likely to need hospital care to recover.
Flu shots are typically available starting in early September, and its highly recommended that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated by the end of October. Its safe to get the flu shot while pregnant, so pregnant people particularly those in the third trimester of pregnancy should receive a flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
For kids between 6 months and 8 years old, whove never been vaccinated against the flu before, two doses will be needed. Its a good idea to plan to get the first dose as soon as the vaccine is available so the second dose can be received by the end of October. If kids have had a flu shot before, just one dose is needed.
Getting a flu shot is quick and easy. All you need to do is make a flu shot appointment at a time and clinic location that is most convenient for you. Since the shot takes just a couple minutes to prepare and administer, youll be in and out.
Also Check: Does Urgent Care Have Flu Shots
Drink Water And Fluids
Drinking water and other fluids is even more important when you have the flu. This is true whether you have a respiratory flu or a stomach flu.
Water helps to keep your nose, mouth, and throat moist. This helps your body get rid of built-up mucous and phlegm.
You can also get dehydrated if you arent eating or drinking normally. Diarrhea and fever , can also cause water loss.
You can stay hydrated by consuming plenty of:
Youll know youre drinking enough water and liquids if:
- you have to urinate regularly
- the color of your urine is almost clear or pale yellow
If your urine is a deep yellow to amber color, you may be dehydrated.
Its also helpful to avoid smoking as much as possible since it can further irritate your nose, throat, and lungs.
Talking With Your Health Care Team About Flu
Prepare for your visit by making a list of questions to ask. Consider adding these questions to your list:
- What flu-like symptoms are common for the type of treatment I’m receiving?
- What problems should I call you about? Are there any symptoms that need urgent medical care?
- When might these symptoms start? How long might they last?
- Should I keep track of any symptoms?
- How much fluid should I drink every day? What types of fluids are best for me to drink?
- Are there medicines I should take to feel better? Are there medicines I should avoid or call you before taking?
- How often should I check my temperature?
You May Like: How To Get Flu Shot Record From Cvs
Get Helpful Advice From An Experienced Nurse Practitioner
If youre not sure if you have the flu or youre looking for home remedy advice, you dont have to figure it all out on your own.
Our care lines allow you to talk with a nurse 24/7, 365 days a year at no charge. They can give you more home remedy advice based on the symptoms youre feeling and help you decide if its time to see a doctor for flu treatment.
To get in touch, call the HealthPartners CareLine at or the Park Nicollet Nurse Line at .
Natural Remedies: Herbs And Supplements
While there isnt a lot of research to support the effectiveness of herbal remedies for cold and flu, many people believe they can help. This is whats known as the placebo effect.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health offers this recap of research on a few popular natural products for cold and flu:
- Zinc Oral forms can reduce the length of colds when taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, but zinc can have side effects such as nausea and other gastrointestinal problems and may interact with other medications.
- Vitamin C Taking vitamin C regularly does not reduce the likelihood of getting a cold and has only a slight impact on the length and severity of an illness. People who take vitamin C only when theyre sick dont benefit at all.
- Echinacea Research does not support the use of this herb to either prevent or treat colds.
- Probiotics The scientific evidence is weak that probiotics can help prevent colds.
Recommended Reading: Schedule Flu Shot At Target
What About Herbal Remedies And Vitamin C
For flu treatments, many load up on vitamin C. Best source: citrus fruits.
Several herbal remedies are touted to help treat flu, including: North American ginseng, licorice roots, berries and pomegranate, guava tea, and Bai Shao. Although many people swear by these herbal favorites, there needs to be further scientific research to support their effectiveness.
Many also reach for megadoses of vitamin C when flu symptoms strike, this may not be the best approach. The NCCIH remarks, For most people, vitamin C does not prevent colds and only slightly reduces their length and severity.
Large doses are not recommended. You are better off eating a delicious orange or kiwi, which have many additional benefits for health see our post on vitamin C.
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. Youre 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.
Recommended Reading: Tylenol Cold Flu And Cough
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.
Drugs And Treatments For The Flu
Treating the flu mainly means relieving major symptoms until your body clears the infection.
Antibiotics arent effective against the flu because its caused by a virus, not bacteria. But your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat any secondary bacterial infection that may be present. Theyll likely recommend some combination of self-care and medication to treat your symptoms.
People who are at high risk for flu complications should seek immediate medical attention. High-risk groups include:
- adults ages 65 years and older
- women who are pregnant or up to 2 weeks postpartum
- people who have weakened immune systems
In most cases, however, the flu just needs to run its course. The best treatments for people with the flu are lots of rest and plenty of fluids.
You may not have much of an appetite, but its important to eat regular meals to keep up your strength.
If possible, stay home from work or school. Dont go back until your symptoms subside.
To bring down a fever, place a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead or take a cool bath.
You may also use over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
Other self-care options include the following:
- Have a bowl of hot soup to relieve nasal congestion.
- Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat.
- Avoid alcohol consumption.
OTC medications wont shorten the length of the flu, but they can help reduce symptoms.
Also Check: Do Seniors Get A Different Flu Shot
Is My Child Hydrated Enough
Kids need to drink plenty of fluids when they are fighting the flu. Some experts say they may need as many as four to five cups of fluid each day fluids can mean both drinks, like water and diluted apple juice, and certain foods, like gelatin, soup or popsicles.
And if your child is refusing to eat or drink, you may have to get a little more creative. We suggest putting the fluid in a fun cup, letting him use a straw or maybe even letting him drink his juice in a bowl with a spoon.
Its important to watch out for the signs of dehydration too. Contact your pediatrician if your child:
- Doesnt play as much as usual.
- Isnt urinating as much as usual.
- Is fussy or cries more than usual.
Which Flu Treatment Should I Take To Lower My Fever And Body Aches
Children under 19 should avoid aspirin. Acetaminophen or medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen are over-the-counter options for fever and pain relief. Each medication has risks. Check with your doctor or pharmacist as to which medication may be suitable for you.
Be careful not to overdose! These drugs are often mixed in with other multi-symptom cold and flu remedies you may also be taking. They may also be ingredients in other prescription medicines you may be taking. Your pharmacist can help you check for drug ingredients and interactions.
Recommended Reading: Flu Safety In The Workplace
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.
Read Also: Is The Influenza The Flu