So You’ve Got A Cold Or The Flunow What
The average American gets two to three colds a year, each lasting for nine to 14 miserable days, so it’s no surprise that we spend billions of dollars on over-the-counter cold and flu remedies annually. Turns out that by and large, we’re wasting our money. Evidence suggests that few head cold remediesherbal, over-the-counter, or homeopathicare likely to influence the course of a cold or the flu. That said, some do work. Here, a complete list of cold and flu remediesboth over-the-counter and all-naturalto help you kick the sniffles, or skip altogether.
What Precautions Should I Take Against The Omicron Variant
“At the rate that it seems to be spreading, there isn’t a surveillance system on the planet truly that could keep up with it,” Bronwyn MacInnis, director of pathogen genomic surveillance at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, said.
In some parts of the country, there are hints omicron already accounts for about 15% of cases, said Jeremy Luban, a virus expert at the UMass Chan Medical School.
Omicron has been moving faster even than the most pessimistic among us thought that it was going to move,” said Dr. Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease expert at Massachusetts General Hospital. Theres a high likelihood that it will come to your holiday gathering.
Take the same steps that have been effective at preventing or reducing the risk of COVID infection: vaccination, masks in indoor public places or around vulnerable people, social distancing, boosters if you received your first shots more than six months ago. Pay attention to the COVID numbers in your area if there are a higher number of cases and a lower percentage of vaccinated people you may want to take more precautions.
The CDC has updated its guidance, recommending that all adults 18 and older should get a booster shot either six months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine series or two months after their initial J& J vaccine.
Omicron precautions:CDC director says recommendations for protection the same, ‘regardless of the variant’
Is It A Cold The Flu Or Covid How To Tell The Difference
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a cough, sneeze or sore throat can inspire panic. Learn how to tell viral infections apart.
Similar symptoms of COVID and influenza make it hard to know for sure without testing.
A nasty flu season and the rise of seasonal colds have combined with the new omicron variant of COVID-19 to create an infernal mix of viral infections this winter. If your throat starts itching or you feel fatigued, how are you supposed to know if it’s COVID-19, flu or a cold?
The COVID-19 virus has infected more than 315 million people worldwide and killed at least 5.5 million. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, usually dry, as well as fever and excessive body fatigue. If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, get tested for COVID as soon as possible. The deadly serious nature of COVID-19 makes it important to identify and isolate the infected, particularly from people who are immunocompromised, seniors or in other high-risk categories.
Whether or not you’re currently feeling sick, it’s a good time to understand the differences between the three illnesses and what specific symptoms could mean. We also spoke with medical experts to learn the best ways of protecting yourself and your loved ones from diseases this season.
Plus, here’s what you need to know about getting the flu shot, mixing and matching COVID-19 booster shots, the latest on COVID-19 vaccines for kids and what’s happening with the Pfizer COVID pill.
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Is The Flu Contagious
If you have the flu, youre contagious meaning you can pass the flu to others.
Many people can spread the virus as early as a day before they show symptoms. In other words, you may be transmitting the virus before you even realize that youre sick.
You may still be spreading the virus 5 to 7 days after your symptoms appear. Young children are often able to pass the virus for more than 7 days after symptoms first appear.
People who have a weak immune system may experience the virus symptoms longer, too.
If you have the flu or any flu symptoms, stay home. Do your part to prevent the spread of the virus to other people. If youre diagnosed, alert anyone you came into contact with on the day before your symptoms appeared.
Influenza is a common, infectious virus spread by droplets that enter another persons body. From there, the virus takes hold and begins to develop.
Each year, the flu spreads across the United States. A 2018 CDC study found that the flu affects between 311 percent of U.S. people each year. This accounts for people who have symptoms.
Winter is the flus primary season, with a peak in February. But you can get the flu any time of the year.
Many strains of the flu exist. Doctors and researchers determine which strains of the virus will be most common each year.
Those strains are then used to produce vaccines. A flu vaccine is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent the flu.
Does Paxlovid Work Against Omicron
Paxlovids clinical trials took place before Omicron became predominant, but Pfizer says the drug works against the highly contagious variant. So far at least three laboratory-based studies claim to back this uptwo of those studies were conducted by Pfizer, while the third was done by Pfizer in partnership with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. These studies have not yet been published in peer-reviewed medical journals.
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The Problem With Too Much Acetaminophen
Nevertheless, you may not realize that acetaminophen is an active ingredient in a combination medication unless you read the label carefully. For example, NyQuil, Theraflu, and Percocet all contain acetaminophen. Unfortunately, using multiple products that contain acetaminophen can result in accidental misuse and overuse, as well as potential liver damage.
Acetaminophen is primarily processed in the liver. The liver breaks down most of the acetaminophen in a normal dose and eliminates it in the urine. But a small portion of the drug is converted to a byproduct that is toxic to the liver cells. If you take too much acetaminophen all at once or over a period of several days this toxic breakdown product can build up and cause damage to the liver.
In addition, there is some evidence that people with dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea, persistent fevers, or underlying liver problems may be at slightly increased risk of liver damage when taking normally safe doses of acetaminophen. The resulting symptoms of right-sided abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and general malaise may be mistaken for a worsening flu-like illness instead of being recognized as warning signs of liver damage.
Cold And Flu Season Precautions: What To Do
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What Happens If I Overdose
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death.
Early signs of acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sweating, or weakness. Later symptoms may include upper stomach pain, dark urine, and yellowing of your skin or eyes.
Helpful Tips To Relieve Side Effects
Talk to a doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin , or antihistamines for any pain and discomfort experienced after getting vaccinated.
People can take these medications to relieve side effects after vaccination if they have no other medical reasons that prevent them from taking these medications normally. Ask your childs healthcare provider for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home to comfort your child after vaccination.
It is not recommended to take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects.
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Treatment Options For The Flu
Most cases of the flu are mild enough that you can treat yourself at home without prescription medications.
Its important you stay home and avoid contact with other people when you first notice flu symptoms.
You should also:
- Drink plenty of fluids. This includes water, soup, and low-sugar flavored drinks.
- Treat symptoms such as headache and fever with OTC medications.
- Wash your hands to prevent spreading the virus to other surfaces or to other people in your house.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues. Immediately dispose of those tissues.
- Wear a face covering when in public.
If symptoms become worse, call your doctor. They may prescribe an antiviral medication. The sooner you take this medicine, the more effective it is. You should start treatment within 48 hours from when your symptoms start.
Contact your doctor as soon as symptoms appear if youre at high risk for flu-related complications.
High-risk groups include:
- people with weakened immune systems
- women who are pregnant or up to 2 weeks postpartum
- people who are at least 65 years old
- children under 5 years old
- people who live in chronic care facilities or nursing homes
- people who have chronic conditions, such as heart or lung disease
- people who are of Native American descent
Your doctor may test for the flu virus right away. They may also prescribe an antiviral medication to prevent complications.
CDC . But you can get flu at any time of the year.
Keep these treatments in mind if you have the flu:
How Can I See My Family And Friends Safely For The Holidays
Gathering with friends and family on Christmas will depend on each persons risk assessment. If everyone is vaccinated and boosted, thats a good scenario, said Barron. She also recommends being careful with elderly loved ones.
If there’s somebody particularly complex either because their medical conditions or their age that you’re worried about, treat them that way, Barron said. Where you can still see them. You can still talk to them, you can give them a quick hug, but maybe you limit the close interactions with them. So there’s droplets coming out, they’re not gonna land on your loved one.
Barron said there are several things to keep in mind during gatherings:
- Make sure there’s good ventilation and air flow, either indoors or outdoors
- Take a rapid COVID-19 test just to be sure
- If you’re not feeling well, skip the party
- And If you travel by plane, train or some other form of group travel and come down with something, be prepared to quarantine in that place for at least 10 days.
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What Are The Differences Between The Flu And Covid
The two most notable differences between COVID-19 and the flu are the time it takes for symptoms to show up, and the loss of taste and smell. It generally takes longer for COVID-19 symptoms to present after exposure — two to 14 days for COVID-19 versus one to four days for the flu.
The loss of taste and smell is a symptom specific to COVID-19 that is generally not associated at all with the flu. However, that symptom was more prevalent in early COVID-19 variants and not as common with omicron.
Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can both lead to hospitalization and death. Dr. David Hamer, a Boston University School of Public Health professor and physician at Boston Medical Center, agreed that the symptoms aren’t easy to differentiate right away. “Clinically, it’s going to be harder for an individual to differentiate. COVID is a little more likely to progress to a severe disease, but certainly, influenza can kill,” Hamer said.
How Does Paxlovid Work
Paxlovid is an antiviral therapy that consists of two separate medications packaged together. When you take your three-pill dose, two of those pills will be nirmatrelvir, the drug that inhibits the SARS-CoV-2 protein from replicating. The other is ritonavir, a drug that was once used to treat HIV/AIDS but is now used to boost levels of antiviral medicines.
As a COVID-19 treatment, ritonavir essentially shuts down nirmatrelvirs metabolism in the liver, so that it doesnt move out of your body as quickly, which means it can work longergiving it a boost to help fight the infection.
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Who Should Get The Flu Shot
Doctors recommend that everyone
- people whose body mass index is 40 or higher
- anyone working or living in a nursing home or chronic care facility
- caregivers to any of the above
- American Indians or Alaska Natives
- anyone with chronic medical conditions
Most doctors also recommend that everyone gets their flu vaccine by the end of October. This way your body has time to develop the right antibodies before flu season kicks into gear.
Even if you dont get the flu shot by October 31, its not too late. Even if its well into flu season, its always helpful to get the flu shot.
It takes about 2 weeks for antibodies to develop against the flu after vaccination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that both flu and the new coronavirus, COVID-19, will be spreading this year. Because of this, the vaccine will be more important than ever.
When Should I Take Paxlovid
You have to take Paxlovid within five days of developing symptoms.
Like all antivirals, Paxlovid works best early in the course of an illnessin this case, within the first five days of symptom onset, says Jeffrey Topal, MD, a Yale Medicine infectious diseases specialist who is involved in determining COVID-19 treatment protocols for Yale New Haven Hospital patients.
Once youve been ill with the virus for more than a week, the damage done to the body in a severe case cant be undone by the antiviral, he says.
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How Should I Take Robitussin Flu
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. An acetaminophen overdose can damage your liver or cause death. Cold or cough medicine is only for short-term use until your symptoms clear up.
Always follow directions on the medicine label about giving cough or cold medicine to a child. Do not use the medicine only to make a child sleepy. Death can occur from the misuse of cough or cold medicines in very young children.
You must chew the chewable tablet before you swallow it.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device .
Dissolve one packet of the powder in at least 4 ounces of water. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away
Call your doctor if you have a sore throat for more than 2 days, especially if you also have fever, headache, rash, nausea, or vomiting.
If you need surgery or medical tests, tell the surgeon or doctor if you have taken this medicine within the past few days.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not allow liquid medicine to freeze.
How Long Does The Flu Last
Most people recover from the flu in about a week. But it may take several more days for you to feel back to your usual self. Its not uncommon to feel tired for several days after your flu symptoms have subsided.
Its important to stay home from school or work until youve been free of fever for at least 24 hours .
If you have the flu, it can be passed to another person a day before your symptoms appear and up to 57 days afterward.
If you have any cold or flu symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic, you must isolate yourself while getting tested and continue to practice good hygiene such as:
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Throughout The Rest Of Your Body:
Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction after getting a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine , should not get another dose of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction after receiving Johnson & Johnsons Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, should not receive another dose of that vaccine.
Learn about getting a different type of COVID-19 vaccine after an allergic reaction.
Whats The Incubation Period For The Flu
The typical incubation period for the flu is 1 to 4 days. Incubation refers to the period during which the virus is in your body and developing.
During this time, you may not show any symptoms of the virus. That doesnt mean that you arent able to pass it to someone else. Many people are capable of transmitting the virus to others a day before symptoms appear.
The millions of tiny droplets that are produced when we sneeze, cough, or talk, spread the flu virus. These droplets enter your body through your nose, mouth, or eyes.
You can also get the flu by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
The 24-hour flu is a common stomach infection that has nothing to do with influenza, despite sharing a name. The 24-hour stomach flu is caused by a genus of viruses called norovirus.
The symptoms of norovirusinclude:
- stomach cramping
These symptoms occur in the gastrointestinal system. Thats why the 24-hour flu is sometimes called a stomach flu. Although its called the 24-hour flu, you may be ill for up to 3 days.
The symptoms of the 24-hour flu and influenza are different. The flu is a respiratory illness. Respiratory system symptoms of the flu include:
- runny nose
- body aches
Some people with influenza may experience nausea and vomiting while theyre sick. But these symptoms arent as common in adults.
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