Keep Your Child Home Until They Are Well
That doesnt necessarily mean they cant go to school or daycare until they are cough- or runny nose-free, but it does mean that they have to be fever-free for at least 24 hours, not coughing constantly, able to eat and drink, and have enough energy to do whatever school or daycare entails. Not only is this important for your childs recovery, but its important for preventing the spread of influenza. Which leads me to the last point
Have The Flu Antibiotics Arent For You
Most of us have tried and true ways we combat flu symptoms, like sipping chicken soup to fight the sore throat and wrapping up in warm blankets to ward off the chills.
Maybe you call your doctor, too. But before you ask for any medications, read about the difference between bacterial and viral infections. What youve caught will determine your treatment.
Should I Still Get A Flu Vaccine
Yes. Antiviral drugs are not a substitute for getting a flu vaccine. While flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, a flu vaccine is best way to help prevent seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications. Everyone 6 months and older should receive a flu vaccine every year. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense that can be used to treat flu if you get sick.
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When Should Antiviral Drugs Be Taken For Treatment
Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be beneficial, especially if the sick person is at higher risk of serious flu complications or is in the hospital with more severe illness. Follow instructions for taking these drugs.
How You Can Help Fight Superbugs
The good news is that were making progress in the battle against superbugs. Aetna is working to educate doctors about the dangers of overprescribing antibiotics for common complaints like acute bronchitis, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Departments of Health. In 2018, the program reduced unnecessary prescriptions by 16%. In 2019, the initiative will be expanding to additional states.
But we need your help. You can fight the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs by asking the right questions and taking your medication as directed. If your doctor offers to prescribe you antibiotics, ask if theyre really necessary. Doctors may think people are coming to them for antibiotics, Dr. Knecht says. Asking doctors if antibiotics are needed lets them know that youre there for the right treatment, whatever that is. And if you do need antibiotics for a bacterial illness, dont skip doses and do take all the pills prescribed to you, even after you feel better. And dont share antibiotics with others.
Imagine a world where you dont know if antibiotics will work, Dr. Knecht urges. Many people dont recognize how important they are. We need to elevate their status and preserve this precious resource.
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Are There Different Types Of Flu Tests
In a lab setting, there are a few different ways to test for influenza. The most common test for flu is called a “rapid influenza diagnostic test” . These RIDTs detect the part of the virus that stimulates an immune response, known as an antigen, the CDC says. Another type of flu test, called a “rapid molecular assay” detects the actual genetic material of the flu virus. Both of these tests are termed “rapid” because they can provide results in 1015 minutes or 1520 minutes .
Even more accurate than RIDTs and rapid molecular assays are tests most often found in hospitals or public health laboratories . Those tests are known as: reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests, viral cultures, or immunofluorescence assays, the CDC says. These results also take a little longerup to several hours.
But as far as you’re concerned, all of those tests require the same thing from you: a nasal swab, where a provider swipes the inside of your nose or a throat swab, Cassandra Pierre, MD, MPH, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, tells Health. Even more specifically, some tests go further back in the nose, while the rapid test only goes right inside, Anjali Mahoney, MD, MPH, a family medicine specialist with Keck Medicine of USC, tells Health.
The Endocannabinoid System And The Immune System
The endocannabinoid system, the mechanism within our bodies with which cannabis interacts, affects our immune system.
The endocannabinoid system has been proven to play a large role in immune system modulation by down-regulating the inflammatory response of the body, Dr. Christine Nedeau, MD, a family medicine doctor in Kansas City, Missouri and a medical writer for eMediHealth, told The Cannigma in an interview.
In other words, the endocannabinoid system can theoretically calm down an immune system that is on overdrive and causing excessive inflammation throughout the body , effectively bringing it back into homeostasis.
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How Can You Prevent Cat Flu
The best way to protect your cat from cat flu is by getting them vaccinated against the viruses that cause cat flu. Your cat will need two flu vaccines followed by booster shots throughout their life. While vaccination may not be able to stop your cat from ever getting the flu, it can help them from developing serious symptoms.
If you have multiple cats and one of them is ill, keep the infected one isolated as much as possible to help stop the spread of the virus. Make sure that shared items, like bowls and litter boxes, are disinfected after use to kill off any remaining bacteria.
What Are The Benefits Of Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral treatment works best when started soon after flu illness begins. When treatment is started within two days of becoming sick with flu symptoms, antiviral drugs can lessen fever and flu symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by about one day. They also may reduce the risk of complications such as ear infections in children, respiratory complications requiring antibiotics, and hospitalization in adults. For people at higher risk of serious flu complications, early treatment with an antiviral drug can mean having milder illness instead of more severe illness that might require a hospital stay. For adults hospitalized with flu illness, some studies have reported that early antiviral treatment can reduce their risk of death.
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When To Contact A Doctor
People with MS should contact a doctor at the beginning of cold and flu season to discuss when it is safe to get a flu shot. The doctor may provide the shot immediately, as long as the person is not currently experiencing a relapse.
If a person comes down with the flu, they should take time off from work, school, or other engagements. They should talk with a doctor to see if they can prescribe any medications to help shorten the duration of the flu or relieve the symptoms.
Some experts also recommend that a person should contact a doctor if they experience symptoms such as:
- fever greater than 102°F
Surgical And Respiratory Masks
If you’ve recently walked into a doctors waiting room, or even your local mall, youve probably seen people wearing paper masks over their mouths and noses.
In our office, we now routinely hand out masks to people who come in with flu-like symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, and/or fever, Lipman says.
While most studies on masks have been done in healthcare settings, some suggest they may help stave off flu in other situations, too.
One University of Michigan study, for example, found that college students living in dorms who wore face masks and practiced good hand hygiene for six weeks had lower rates of flu-like illnesses than those who didnt.
The mask may help block the flu virus, which travels through the air in droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, Lipman explains. It may also help prevent you from passing the virus from your hands to your mouth or nose.
If youre at high risk of flu complicationsfor example, youre over age 65 or have a compromised immune systemconsider wearing masks whenever you are in a crowded area, such as a full movie theater, Lipman says. And wear one if you’re sick and are going to be around other people, or are caring for someone with the flu.
Last, consider a mask if you’re going to a doctor’s office, or if you’re traveling on an airplane, especially if people around you seem sick.
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What Happens If You Get The Flu
At the first sign of flu-like symptoms, a person should talk with a doctor. The doctor may be able to prescribe medications to help shorten the duration of the flu or at least make the symptoms more manageable.
Those with MS should also take time off from work, school, or other engagements to rest as much as possible.
In addition, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation suggests drinking plenty of water, herbal tea, or other sugar-free fluids, and using nasal sprays, tissues, and eye drops to manage symptoms. Always check with a doctor before using any medicated product.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that no complementary health approach has been shown to be helpful for treating influenza .
For relief of symptoms, using a neti pot or other method of saline nasal irrigation may help with congestion. Be sure to use distilled, sterile, or previously-boiled water to make the saline solution.
Honey may help relieve nighttime cough in children. However, it should never be given to children under age 1 due to the risk of botulism.
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What About Antiviral Drugs To Treat The Flu
There are specific antiviral drugs that fight against the flu in your body and come in three forms: pills, liquid or a powder that you inhale. You must have a prescription for antiviral drugs as they are not available over-the-counter. Antivirals are different from antibiotics because they fight viruses, not bacteria. Unlike antibiotics, antiviral drugs do not destroy their target instead, they prevent it from developing so, for example, they prevent the flu virus from multiplying and spreading throughout your body.
Taking antiviral medications can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by a day or two. While that may not seem like much, anyone who has ever had the flu will tell you they would have loved a couple of days off from feeling so miserable. Perhaps, more importantly, antiviral flu medications can also prevent serious flu complications, which create much more serious health issues, like pneumonia.
Some people are at high-risk for complications from the flu. For example, people 65 and older, American Indians and Alaska Natives, children under five , and those with medical conditions such as asthma, sickle cell disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have a high-risk of flu complications. Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a relatively mild illness and a very serious one that could result in a hospital stay or worse.
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.
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Combination Cough And Cold Medicines
Cough and cold medicines are often used for symptom relief however its important to know there is not enough evidence showing they work well, particularly in children.
Cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under 6. You should ask a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner for advice before giving cough and cold medicines to children aged 6 to 11 years.
Cough and cold medicines often contain paracetamol, so it is important to check the label to avoid doubling up and taking other medicines that also contain paracetamol.
What Should I Do If I Think I Am Sick With Flu
If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs are a treatment option. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at higher risk of serious flu complications and you develop flu symptoms. Flu signs and symptoms can include feeling feverish or having a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu illness.
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Research On Cannabis And The Flu
While there is no scientific or medical evidence about cannabis and the flu with humans, there is one study that examined the effect the endocannabinoid system has on mice infected with the influenza virus.
In that study, scientists discovered that, after suffering a bout of influenza, mice with normally functioning endocannabinoid systems had significantly less damage to their lung tissue than mice whose endocannabinoid systems had been genetically modified.
While these results may be interesting, it is hardly enough evidence to provide substantial conclusions about how cannabis affects humans who have the flu.
Will Cannabis Help You Get Better
There are no recommendations for cannabis use to treat flu, Dr. Nedeau said, citing the lack of medical evidence.
I would not recommend attempting to use cannabis on your own to treat the flu, she added.
Using cannabis will not contribute to curing your flu. Since there is no medical treatment for the influenza virus, unfortunately, you just have to let your body fight it off on its own.
If you are suffering from the flu right now, the best course of action you can take is to:
- Stay home and get plenty of rest
- Drink lots of fluids
- Take steamy showers or baths to help with congestion
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What You Can Do
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. Some questions you might want to ask your or your child’s doctor include:
- What’s the likely cause of the symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
- Is there a need for tests?
- What’s the best treatment approach? Are there any alternatives?
- Is there a need to take medicine?
- What can I do at home to ease the symptoms?
How To Avoid Spreading The Flu
Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You’re more likely to give it to others in the first 5 days.
Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
To reduce the risk of spreading flu:
- wash your hands often with warm water and soap
- use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
- bin used tissues as quickly as possible
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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 .
Prescription Medications For Colds Or Flu
The first line of treatment for the common cold and influenza is self-care as you allow these viral illnesses to simply run their course. But there are cases in which you may need a medical evaluation and prescription medication to tame severe symptoms, prevent a worsening of your condition, or avoid related complications.
Cough suppressants, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids are prescription cold and/or flu medications that can help provide you some symptom relief, while the main job of antivirals and antibiotics is to stop what’s causing your illness in its tracks.
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Paracetamol For Pain And Fever
Paracetamol can be used for adults and children over 1 month for pain and symptoms of fever. Make sure youve got the right strength for your childs age and weight as overdosing can be dangerous.
Read and follow the directions on the label carefully. If you are not sure check with your doctor or pharmacist.