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.
What Treatment Options Are Safe While Breastfeeding
Natural remedies like saline nasal drops and warm salt-water gargles remain great options for cold and flu treatment while breastfeeding.
In addition, the following options are among those generally considered safe, according to the Mayo Clinic, which recommends seeking input from a healthcare provider before taking any medication:
- Analgesics for Pain and Fever Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen short term use only
- AntihistaminesLoratadine and fexofenadine
- Pseudoephedrine use with caution, as it can decrease milk supply
For breastfeeding mothers with the flu, who are at high risk of complications, antiviral medications are considered safe. Oseltamivir is the top choice, according to the CDC, adding that very little of the drug ends up in breast milk.
Additional reporting by Pamela Kaufman.
What Treatment Options Are Safe During Pregnancy
According to the Cleveland Clinic, natural remedies like saline nasal drops and warm salt-water gargling are ideal cold and flu treatments during pregnancy.
Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should check with their healthcare provider before taking any drug. While no medication can be considered 100 percent safe for pregnant women, the Cleveland Clinic lists the following as among those generally considered to be okay:
Note: Do not take the sustained action or multisymptom forms of these drugs.
As for the decongestant pseudoephedrine, the Cleveland Clinic recommends that pregnant women avoid it in the first trimester , while a review published in the journal American Family Physician concluded that women should use it only sparingly later in pregnancy.
For pregnant women with the flu, oseltamivir is the preferred medication because it has the best safety and efficacy record, according to the CDC.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women with a fever take acetominophen and contact their doctors immediately.
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We Have What You Need To Feel Better
illness-related reason people see their doctor.
try to tough it out and go to work when they’re sick.
Source: 2015 Harris Poll
and consistency varies. Talk to a doctor to look at other factors.
said their cold started with a sore or scratchy throat.
Source: Current Medical Research and Opinion
Will I Still Be Contagious If Im Taking Tamiflu For The Flu
Yes, you may be contagious . Influenza virus is highly contagious. It can spread easily through droplets of saliva, or when someone coughs or sneezes.
If youre taking Tamiflu, the drug will help fight the influenza virus inside you. But you may still be able to infect other people while youre taking the drug.
People who have the flu are contagious for up to 5 to 7 days after their flu symptoms begin. Even if youre feeling better, you may still be able to spread the flu during this time.
You can help lower the risk of spreading influenza by:
- washing your hands often
- covering your face when you cough or sneeze
- avoiding touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
- staying home when youre sick
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Tamiflu For Other Conditions
In addition to the uses listed above, you may wonder if Tamiflu is used for certain other conditions. Here we describe conditions that Tamiflu isnt approved to treat.
Tamiflu for parainfluenza
Tamiflu isnt approved to treat parainfluenza viruses, and it shouldnt be given for this use. Human parainfluenza viruses cause symptoms similar to those caused by influenza virus. However, HPIVs belong to a different class of viruses than influenza virus does. For this reason, Tamiflu wont be effective for treating HPIVs.
If you have flu-like symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. They can recommend the best treatment option for your condition.
Tamiflu for colds
Tamiflu isnt approved to treat the common cold, and it shouldnt be used for this condition. The common cold can be caused by many different viruses that infect your lungs and nasal passages. The most common virus that causes the cold is called rhinovirus. However, Tamiflu doesnt work to treat rhinovirus.
While the common cold and influenza cause similar symptoms, flu symptoms are generally worse than cold symptoms. If you have cold or flu symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor. They can recommend the best treatment option for your condition.
Potential Risks Of Combining The Flu And Covid
Common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. Throughout the rest of your body, you might experience tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea, per the CDC.
These are similar to side effects you may experience with the flu shot.
These vaccines can trigger some flu-like symptoms or discomfort afterward, says Dr. Maglione. That could theoretically be worsened by getting two at once. But I think overall, those concerns are outweighed by the benefit that is getting the vaccines and getting them at the right time.
In other words, if its easiest for you to get a third dose or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as your flu shot, getting both simultaneously could help you avoid delaying your vaccines and keep you safer as a result.
In our patients, we now know that side effects do occur but severe side effects are rare and disease flare isnt as high as we were concerned with at first, says rheumatologist Jiha Lee, MD, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan Medicine. I think because of the opportunity we have to deliver both vaccines in a timely and convenient manner, even immunocompromised patients can get both COVID-19 and the flu vaccine at the same time provided that they have not had a severe reaction to their prior series or prior flu vaccine.
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Which Flu Treatment Is Best For My Sore Throat
Drinking lots of fluids and using salt water gargles can often be helpful for easing the pain of a sore throat. Over-the-counter pain relievers and medicated lozenges and gargles can also temporarily soothe a sore throat. Get your doctor’s approval before using any medications, including over-the-counter drugs, and don’t use lozenges or gargles for more than a few days. Call your doctor if your throat is still sore after a couple of days or if it is severe.The medications could mask signs of strep throat, a bacterial infection that should be treated with antibiotics.
Timing Your Immunosuppressive Medication With The Flu Vaccine
Although it may have been less commonly discussed before COVID-19, the timing of immunosuppressive medications can also have an effect on the effectiveness of the flu shot.
We should always be having these conversations because the idea is the same that if youre on immunosuppressive medication, it could impact the efficacy of the vaccine for the same reasons, says Dr. Maglione. I do think that COVID has raised our awareness and mindfulness of this in a way that maybe people will be discussing it more this year than ever.
Some doctors have recommended that patients on methotrexate, a disease-modifying drug commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, stop taking it for up to two weeks after the flu shot to help increase its effectiveness, for example.
Holding other immunosuppressant medications after getting the flu shot is not generally recommended, but you can ask your doctor about your specific situation. If you get the flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine dose at the same time, however and withhold medication as a result it stands to reason you may also help boost the efficacy of the flu shot along with that of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Read more here about getting the flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic when you have inflammatory arthritis.
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Drug Forms And Administration
Tamiflu is taken by mouth, either once or twice daily. It comes in these two forms:
- Capsules. These are available in three strengths: 30 mg, 45 mg, and 75 mg.
- Oral suspension. This form of Tamiflu is a powder thats been dissolved in water. The oral suspension is available in one strength: 6 mg/mL .
Like Tamiflu, Xofluza is also taken by mouth. It can also be taken through a feeding tube. It comes as tablets and an oral suspension, each of which are taken as a single, one-time dose. Xofluza tablets are available in two strengths: 20 mg and 40 mg. And Xofluza solution is available in one strength: 40 mg/20 mL.
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.
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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.
Tamiflu And Flu Vaccines
There are two types of flu vaccines: inactive and live .
If you receive the live influenza vaccine while youre taking Tamiflu, it may be less effective to protect you from the flu. This is because the antiviral drug contained in Tamiflu will attack and kill the live virus given to you in the vaccine.
However, you may be able to receive the inactive flu vaccine, which does not contain live virus, while youre taking Tamiflu.
If you have the flu, or youre taking Tamiflu, talk with your doctor about your options for receiving a flu vaccination.
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Dont Drink A Hot Toddy
While alcohol makes people feel drowsy, it doesnt lead to good sleep and can contribute to dehydration.
Resting up and staying hydrated are both needed to help people recover from the flu. What more, booze can make people feel worse.
Flu can often make people feel very sick and that can include making people feel very delirious and something that can affect your thinking is not recommended, said Safdar.
Is Tamiflu Worth Taking
It can be. Most people do not need medication if they get the flu however, if you are in a high-risk group, are very sick, or are worried about your illness, antiviral medications are worth taking to make the illness milder and shorter and to reduce the risk of complications. And its important to remember that Tamiflu works best if you start taking it within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, which is why seeking early medical attention is so important, Dr. Wilkes says.
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Third Dose Of The Covid
A third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has been approved for certain immunocompromised individuals, who may receive it at least 28 days after the second dose of the primary vaccine series. In this case, the extra shot is meant to give you additional initial protection if your immune system may not bolster a large response to just two shots .
Treating The Cold Or Flu When You Have Covid
Its possible to catch more than one respiratory virus at the same time. That means you could get a cold or the flu along with COVID-19. But so far, these coinfections havent happened enough for scientists to study them very much. Experts think thats due to all the physical distancing and other safety measures we took to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Theres some evidence your immune system might protect you from viral coinfections. But we need more research to know if thatll happen with COVID-19.
Ellen Foxman, MD, PhD, an immunobiologist with Yale Medicine and assistant professor of laboratory medicine and immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine, says it doesnt matter if you get the rhinovirus — the main cause of the common cold — or the viruses that cause flu or COVID-19.
Within a few days, your body turns on a really rapid antiviral defense system that protects against all viruses.
That means your odds of a second virus most likely go down shortly after you get the first one.
There was a huge drop in cold and flu illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, that lowered the chances of coinfections. Though, Foxman says this year might be different. If schools and workplaces reopen and there is less use of masks and social distancing, we are likely to see more flu, and this may include some flu and COVID-19 coinfections.
If you do get sick, here are some expert tips on how to get well.
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How Is The Flu Virus Spread
If you have the flu, you can spread it during the time when youre contagious, which starts 1 day before symptoms and lasts for 5 to 7 days after starting to feel sick. This means that you can spread the flu virus even before you are sick and also during the illness.
The best way to prevent the flu and lower the chance of having serious symptoms is to get the flu vaccine every year.
Which Antiviral Drugs Are Recommended For Both Treatment And Prevention Of The Flu
Baloxavir marboxil is taken orally and is approved for use in treatment of children 12 years of age and older.
Oseltamivir, which is taken by mouth, is approved for treating flu in those over 2 weeks of age and preventing flu in people one year of age and older.
Peramivir, given in one intravenous dose, is approved for people over the age of 2 for treatment only.
All four antivirals are most effective when given within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, although they may still prevent severe flu complications when given more than 48 hours after symptoms appear.
For in-depth information, see WebMD’s Flu Prevention Strategies.
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Medications For Congestion And Runny Nose
When youre sick with the flu, you can also have a runny nose, stuffy nose, or both. If your nose is running constantly, you may think antihistamines will help most because they dry up extra fluid in the eyes, nose, and throat. While allergy sufferers find great relief from these products, taking them when youre sick with a viral infection might not be very helpful for your symptoms, especially if you take them for more than 2 days.
Several different antihistamines are available over the counter. Some of these, such as , cause a lot of side effects like drowsiness and dry mouth while not providing much relief. These side effects can be more intense if youre over 65, making you more likely to trip and fall.
The two most common OTC nasal decongestants are and . Pseudoephedrine, which is kept behind the pharmacy counter, is the more effective option of the two. Feeling jittery or having trouble sleeping are common side effects from these medications. Your nose might also feel dry while using them, so its a good idea to have some saline spray on hand to help with that side effect. Be careful with nasal decongestants if you have high blood pressure, as they can raise your blood pressure even if its controlled by medication.
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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Antiviral Medications To Prevent/treat Influenza
This sheet talks about exposure to antiviral medications in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your healthcare providers.
What are antiviral medications and what do they do?
Antiviral medications are used to treat viral illnesses. This fact sheet focuses on antiviral medications that are used to treat influenza . Symptoms of influenza may include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, coughing, congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. Some people can also have stomach upset with vomiting and diarrhea. For more information, see the MotherToBaby fact sheet on Seasonal Influenza at .
Antiviral medications can lessen the symptoms of the flu and reduce the risk of serious illness. Some of these medications may also be used to prevent a person from catching the flu. These medications can be given as an oral tablet , liquid suspension, intravenously , or as an inhaled powder.
Oseltamivir , peramivir , zanamivir , and baloxavir are the antiviral medications used for influenza prevention and treatment. Currently the CDC recommends the use of oral oseltamivir for treatment of the flu during pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will need to give you a prescription, and they can confirm what medication is currently recommended and what would be best for you.
I just found out I am pregnant. Should I stop taking an antiviral medication?