Check If You Have Flu
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:
- a sudden high temperature of 38C or above
- an aching body
- diarrhoea or tummy pain
- feeling sick and being sick
The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.
Cold and flu symptoms are similar, but flu tends to be more severe.
|Appears quickly within a few hours||Appears gradually|
|Affects more than just your nose and throat||Affects mainly your nose and throat|
|Makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal||Makes you feel unwell, but you’re OK to carry on as normal|
Is The Flu Caused By Bacteria
No, the flu is caused by viruses, not bacteria.
Thinking that the flu is caused by bacteria is a common myth, and some people even call any symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea the stomach flu. These symptoms are sometimes related to the flu, but they are not the main symptoms. Bacteria is a common cause of stomach symptoms.
The flu is a respiratory disease, meaning that it stays in your airways. The flu virus does not move to parts of your body other than the nose, mouth, throat, and lungs.
Some respiratory diseases, including pneumonia, strep throat, and whooping cough are caused by bacteria. Since the flu is not caused by bacteria, it is not treated with antibiotics like other infections. The primary flu medicine that might be prescribed by your healthcare provider is an antiviral a type of medication that fights viruses.
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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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.
Can I Get A Flu Vaccine While Taking Tamiflu
Yes, you possibly can. There are two types of flu vaccines: inactive and live .
You can get an inactive flu vaccine when youre using Tamiflu. However, you cant get the live influenza vaccine while youre taking Tamiflu. This is because the live vaccine may not work as well for you since Tamiflu will be fighting off the virus youre given in the vaccine.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about when the right time is for you to get a flu shot. If you have the flu or youre currently taking Tamiflu, remind your doctor or pharmacist. Theyll be able to recommend whether you should get a flu vaccine.
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Who Should Take Tamiflu
If youre in good health and come down with the flu, you dont necessarily need Tamiflu or another antiviral medication, because youll most likely get better on your own within one to two weeks using self-care strategies, such as resting, getting plenty of fluids, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers for fever, headache, and muscle aches.
By the time most people drag themselves out of bed to see the doctor, theyre on the road to recovery already, says Nicole Bouvier, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Many experts, including those at the CDC, say that people at high risk for flu complications, however, should take an antiviral medication. This includes people older than 65, kids 5 and youngerespecially those younger than 2pregnant women and those up to two weeks postpartum, and people who live in nursing homes. Find the entire list here.
Some research suggests that taking an antiviral can help reduce the likelihood that flu will become severe enough to require hospitalization or lead to death. But the evidence is not crystal clear about the prevention of those serious complications, says Michael Hochman, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science and Innovation at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles.
What Should I Do If I Forget A Dose
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is no longer than 2 hours before your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. If you miss several doses, call your doctor for directions. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
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Which Treatment Should I Use For Nasal Congestion
If you need immediate relief for swollen, congested nasal passages, you may get relief with an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray. It is important to stop using decongestant nasal sprays after three days to avoid the development of rebound congestion.
Some doctors suggest using a saline spray instead of a medicated spray. Saline sprays loosen thick mucus in the nasal passageways but have no rebound effect. They may be used for extended periods of time without significant side effects.
Drink Plenty Lot Of Liquids Often
If you have a fever, your body naturally loses a lot of fluid, especially through sweating. It is therefore important to drink plenty of fluids often.
- Drink fluids, such as water, milk, juice or broth.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages or caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and energy drinks. These drinks make you urinate, increasing fluid loss.
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Alternatives For Treatment Of Influenza
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat the flu include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every person ages 6 months and older who is healthy enough to get a flu vaccine get one. Getting vaccinated helps to prevent influenza infections and spreading the virus between people.
Most flu vaccines are given by injection . However, the FluMist vaccine is given as a nasal spray. The CDC recommends that you receive a flu vaccine each year. Talk with your doctor for more information about the different types of vaccines, and to schedule a time to get your flu vaccine.
You may wonder how Tamiflu compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Tamiflu and Xofluza are alike and different.
Financial And Insurance Assistance
If you need financial support to pay for Tamiflu, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
Genentech, the manufacturer of Tamiflu, may offer assistance to help lower the cost of Tamiflu. For more information and to find out if youre eligible for support, call 877-436-3683 or visit the program website.
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The Risks Of Medication Can Outweigh The Benefits
The new concerns about OTC medication for children are just the latest warning that popular over-the-counter medications can be dangerous. In 2001, the FDA ordered that all medications containing phenylpropanolamine be removed from the shelves because of evidence that taking PPA increases the risk of stroke. FDAs decision was made after a study at Yale Medical School showed an association between PPA use and stroke in women using the medicine to lose weight. Men may also be at risk.
Although medicines containing PPA should no longer be available at the store, it is possible that you may have medicines containing PPA in your medicine cabinet. To be safe, those medicines should be discarded. They include:
- Acutrim Diet Gum Appetite Suppressant Plus Dietary Supplements
- Acutrim Maximum Strength Appetite Control
- BC Allergy Sinus Cold Powder
- BC Sinus Cold Powder
- Dimetapp Cold & Allergy Chewable Tablets
- Dimetapp Cold & Cough Liqui-Gels
- Tavist-D 12 Hour Relief of Sinus & Nasal Congestion
- Triaminic DM Cough Relief
- Triaminic Expectorant Chest & Head Congestion
- Triaminic Syrup Cold & Allergy
- Triaminic Triaminicol Cold & Cough
Some of the medications that used to contain PPA are sold under the same name today, but no longer contain PPA. If you have old versions of any of the following medicines, check to see if they contain PPA. If they do, throw them out.
What Are The Common Side Effects Of Stomach Flu Medicine
Stomach flu medications will vary in their side effects based on the type of drug, the dose, and the patients age. This is not a complete list of side effects, so consult with a health care provider about possible drug interactions or side effects.
Oral rehydration solutions have a long track record of safety. Rare side effects include nausea and diarrhea. It is possible, however, to overdo it. Taking too many electrolytes can throw the bodys balance of electrolytes off-kilter, causing potentially serious medical problems.
Antiemetics work by affecting a part of the brain involved with nausea and vomiting, so drowsiness, lightheadedness, sleepiness, restlessness, and agitation are the most common side effects. Dry mouth is a common complaint. The most serious side effect involves a hazardous change in the way the heart beats called QT prolongation. The risk is greatest when these drugs are taken over a long period.
The most commonly experienced side effect of antidiarrheal agents is constipation. Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting are also possible.
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If You Have Difficulty Swallowing Capsules Your Doctor May Tell You To Open The Capsule And Mix The Contents With A Sweetened Liquid To Prepare Doses Of Oseltamivir For People Who Cannot Swallow The Capsules:
Continue to take oseltamivir until you finish the prescription, even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking oseltamivir without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking oseltamivir too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be fully treated, or you may not be protected from the flu.
If you feel worse or develop new symptoms while taking oseltamivir, or if your flu symptoms do not start to get better, call your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
What Is Dextromethorphan And What Is It Used For
Dextromethorphan is a medication used to control coughs caused by the common cold, flu, or other conditions. Dextromethorphan can temporarily relieve cough, but does not treat the cause of the cough or help with recovery.
Dextromethorphan suppresses cough by reducing the sensitivity of cough receptors in the brain region that stimulate the cough reflex and preventing the transmission of cough impulses. Dextromethorphan is a non-opioid drug derived from levorphanol, an opioid analgesic, and is structurally similar to opioid drugs such as codeine.
Dextromethorphan does not interact with opioid receptors and hence, does not have analgesic or addictive properties, however, it increases the levels of chemical messengers such as serotonin, and has the potential for abuse.
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Can Children Take Antiviral Drugs
Yes, though this varies by medication. Oseltamivir is recommended by CDC for treatment of flu in children beginning from birth and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends oseltamivir for treatment of flu in children 2 weeks old or older. Zanamivir is approved for early treatment of flu in people 7 years and older, though it is not recommended for use in children with underlying respiratory disease, including asthma and other chronic lung diseases. Peramivir is recommended for early treatment in people 2 years and older. Baloxavir is approved for early treatment of flu in people 12 years and older.
If your childs health care provider prescribes oseltamivir capsules for your child and your child cannot swallow capsules, the prescribed capsules may be opened, mixed with a thick sweetened liquid, and given that way. Learn more here.
Will Antibiotics Help
Most illnesses that send people to their doctor are caused by viruses or allergies. That means antibiotics wont help. Typically, you just have to let a virus run its course. Yet 30% to 50% of antibiotics are prescribed for viral illnesses, like bronchitis. Its very validating and comforting for patients to receive an antibiotic prescription when theyre not feeling well, Dr. Knecht explains. And doctors want to help. But such overuse is a major contributor to antibiotic resistance.
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What Causes The Flu
Influenza, or the “flu,” is an illness of the breathingsystem and muscles caused by a virus. While a vaccine is available to prevent the flu, its effectiveness varies according to the degree of match between the viral strains used to prepare the vaccine and those strainsactually in circulation in a given year. Not everyone receives the flu vaccine, and even some of those who do can develop symptoms of the flu.
Mild cases of the flu may seem like common colds. But most cases of the flu can be distinguished from colds because the symptoms are more severe than those of the common cold. Flu symptoms also tend to occur suddenly and include high fevers . In children, fevers are typically even higher than those in adults.
How Should This Medicine Be Used
Oseltamivir comes as a capsule and a suspension to take by mouth. When oseltamivir is used to treat flu symptoms, it is usually taken two times a day for 5 days. When oseltamivir is used to prevent flu, it is usually taken once a day for at least 10 days, or for up to 6 weeks during a community flu outbreak. Oseltamivir may be taken with or without food, but is less likely to cause upset stomach if it is taken with food or milk. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand. Take oseltamivir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
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Antivirals For Treating The Flu
Even though antibiotics arent effective against the flu, there are antiviral medications that your doctor can prescribe within a certain time frame.
If these drugs are started within two days of developing flu symptoms, they can help to make your symptoms less severe or shorten the duration of your illness.
Antiviral drugs that are available to treat flu include:
Theres also a new medication called baloxavir marboxil . This antiviral drug was created by a Japanese pharmaceutical company, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2018, and is now available to treat people 12 years or older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 48 hours.
Some antiviral drugs, including oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir, work by preventing the virus from being properly released from an infected cell. This inhibition prevents newly formed virus particles from going along the respiratory tract to infect healthy cells.
The newly approved medication above, Xofluza, works by reducing the virus ability to replicate. But theyre arent usually necessary to get over the flu, and they dont kill the influenza virus.
Its not an antiviral medication like those noted above, but the seasonal flu vaccine is available every year and is the best way to prevent becoming ill with the flu.
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.
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How Is It Treated
Most people can treat flu symptoms at home. Home treatment includes resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking medicine to lower your fever. But some people need to go to the hospital for treatment. They may have severe symptoms or get pneumonia. Or the flu infection may make an existing health problem worse.
If you think you have the flu, your doctor may be able to give you medicine that can make the symptoms milder. It’s best to start taking it within 2 days of your first symptoms.