What Should I Take For Fever And Aches
A fever can be a good thing. It kick-starts your immune system and helps your body fight off an infection by torching bacteria and viruses.
Doctors no longer suggest you try to lower it, except for people who are very young or old, and those with certain medical conditions such as heart disease or lung disease. If you’re uncomfortable, though, it’s fine to take a fever-reducer medication.
Young people, including those in their early 20s, should avoid aspirin. Medicines with acetaminophen and ibuprofen are best. Each type has its own set of risks, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which is best for you.
Be careful not to overdose. These drugs are often mixed in with cough and cold and flu remedies. Read the labels, and don’t take a separate pain remedy if your cough or cold medicine includes one. If youâre not sure whatâs in it, talk to your pharmacist before you take it.
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.
To Relieve A Sore Throat Fever Headache Or Muscle Aches
Examples: Motrin Tablets Advil Caplets Aspirin Original Strength Tylenol Regular Strength Tablets
How they work: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , which include ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid , work by preventing the formation of prostaglandins, the chemicals in the body that promote pain, inflammation, and fever. Acetaminophen, found in Tylenol, behaves slightly differently it targets the part of the brain that perceives pain and controls body temperature. Both types are equally effective, says Kalyn, so its just a matter of balancing the benefits versus the risks.
NSAIDs will reduce symptoms for six to eight hours compared to four to six for acetaminophen, so NSAIDs can be more beneficial if you need help sleeping through the night.
Need to know: Follow package directions for dosing. The most common adverse effect with NSAIDs is stomach discomfort, so take them with food, says Kalyn. Avoid NSAIDs if you have high blood pressure, a heart, liver or kidney condition, or stomach issues such as heartburn. NSAIDs can increase the risk of ulcers, internal bleeding and damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys. Aspirin should not be taken by those on blood thinners and has been linked to Reyes syndrome, so it should not be given to people age 18 and under. Avoid Tylenol if you have liver or kidney disease.
Try: Motrin Liquid Gels, $20, well.ca
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Ways To Relieve Cold And Flu Symptoms At Home
There are other things that may help your cold or flu symptoms, including natural treatments, lots of fluids, and rest.
Try natural cold and flu symptom remedies
Gargling with warm, salt water is a natural way to help soothe your sore throat. Vitamin C may help to support your immune system.
Drink extra fluids
Extra fluids such as water and juices can help thin mucus and relieve your stuffy nose. Hot drinks like herbal tea and broth can soothe your throat and may help relieve congestion.
Take it easy
If you push yourself too hard when youre sick, you may make it harder for your body to recover. Its best for you and those around you to stay home, rest, and recover.
Avoid tobacco and alcohol
Because smoking damages lung cells, it makes it harder to fight off a cold. Alcohol can make you dehydrated, which can make congestion worse.
Talk to your healthcare professional if you dont get better
If your symptoms persist or get worse, call your healthcare professional.
*NSAID = Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
Nsaids And Your Heart
Certain NSAIDs are associated with a small increase in the relative risk for developing a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, increased blood pressure, and blood clots. NSAIDs relieve pain and inflammation by inhibiting an enzyme called COX that produces molecules called prostaglandins. However, this enzyme also has additional important effects throughout the body, which may impact cardiovascular risk. For example, the inhibition of a form of COX called COX-2 in the lining of blood vessels may influence blood vessel injury repair, relaxation, and clotting. The inhibition of COX-2 in the kidney may influence fluid retention, which may in turn affect blood pressure and heart failure symptoms.
Large population studies have demonstrated that the use of NSAIDs similar to those in OTC cold and flu remedies is associated with about two additional cardiovascular events per 1,000 people per year among individuals without a history of cardiovascular disease . Among individuals with a history of CVD, this association increases to an additional seven or eight cardiovascular events per 1,000 people per year.
Thus, among individuals who do not have CVD, the use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen is usually a reasonable option for short-term symptom relief. For individuals who do have CVD, it is worth discussing use of NSAIDs with a doctor.
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How Can I Prevent Viral Gastroenteritis
You can take several steps to keep from getting or spreading infections that cause viral gastroenteritis. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
- after using the bathroom
- after changing diapers
- before and after handling, preparing, or eating food
You can clean surfaces that may have come into contact with infected stool or vomit, such as countertops and changing tables, with a mixture of 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach and 1 gallon of water.7 If clothes or linens may have come into contact with an infected persons stool or vomit, you should wash them with detergent for the longest cycle available and machine dry them. To protect yourself from infection, wear rubber gloves while handling the soiled laundry and wash your hands afterward.7
If you have viral gastroenteritis, avoid handling and preparing food for others while you are sick and for 2 days after your symptoms stop.7 People who have viral gastroenteritis may spread the virus to any food they handle, especially if they do not thoroughly wash their hands. Contaminated water may also spread a virus to foods before they are harvested. For example, contaminated fruits, vegetables, and oysters have been linked to norovirus outbreaks. Wash fruits and vegetables before using them, and thoroughly cook oysters and other shellfish.7Find tips to help keep food safe.
What Can I Drink Or Eat To Control My Blood Sugar Levels When I Am Sick
If possible, you should continue to follow your meal plan while you are sick. You may have trouble keeping food down or eating enough food. If you are not able to follow your normal eating plan , be sure to drink plenty of fluids. High blood sugars, fever, or poor appetite can cause dehydration, yet the body needs adequate fluid to eliminate excess glucose. If you are not eating, you can drink water or other fluids free of sugar or caffeine whenever your blood sugar is over 150 mg/dL. Consuming 1 ounce per year of age per hour, up to a maximum of 8 ounces of fluid per hour is a good target.
Eating 45-50 grams of carbohydrate every few hours can help maintain stable blood sugar levels while you are sick. It may be easier to tolerate meals such as soup, crackers, gelatin, or other soft foods.
People with diabetes who are sick and display ketones should contact their doctor and consider taking additional fast-acting insulin as 10% of their total daily insulin dose given every 2 hours so long as moderate to large ketones persist in the urine or blood. If moderate to large ketones persist for more than 4 to 6 hours despite taking extra insulin every two hours, call 911 or go to your nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Department.
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Who Should Take Antiviral Drugs
Its very important that flu antiviral drugs are started as soon as possible to treat patients who are hospitalized with flu, people who are very sick with flu but who do not need to be hospitalized, and people who are at higher risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health, if they develop flu symptoms. Although other people with mild illness who are not at higher risk of flu complications may also be treated early with antiviral drugs by their doctor, most people who are otherwise healthy and not at higher risk for flu complications do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.
Following is a list of all the health and age factors that are known to increase a persons risk of getting serious complications from flu:
- Blood disorders
- Chronic lung disease
- Endocrine disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- People who are obese with a body mass index of 40 or higher
- People younger than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
- People with a weakened immune system due to disease or medications
Other people at higher risk from flu:
When Do I Call The Doctor About Flu Antiviral Drugs
Ideally, you should talk to your doctor about the flu vaccine and antiviral drugs, including side effects, before the flu season begins.
When you do get flu symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor soon after symptoms appear. Flu drugs are most effective when taken within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms, although they may help prevent severe disease when taken later.
American Academy of Family Physicians: “Tips for Treating the Flu.” American Lung Association: “Influenza Fact Sheet.” Mayo Clinic: “Flu Shot: Your best shot for avoiding influenza.” CDC: “Good Health Habits for Prevention ” “Key Facts About Antiviral Drugs and Influenza and “Seasonal Influenza: What You Should Know about Flu Antiviral Drugs.” UpToDate: Antiviral Drugs for the Treatment of Influenza in Adults. FDA: “FDA approves Rapivab to treat flu infection.”
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Does Vaccination Status Make A Difference
Unvaccinated, vaccinated, and vaccinated with a booster will likely experience different effects of over-the-counter medicine. However, you also have to take into consideration that everyone has different levels of immunityand thats a major factor when it comes to the effectiveness of the medication.
People who are fully vaccinated and have had a booster seem to experience a milder form of infection with Omicron, says Dr. Li. They may gain more relief from common over-the-counter cold and flu medications. People who have not been boosted may experience more severe symptoms if their immunity has waned. And those who have not yet been vaccinated are likely to suffer the most severe symptoms from infection from any variant.
Its also important to remember that although Omicron has become the dominant variant, Delta is still out there.
Do Antiviral Drugs For Flu Have Side Effects
Side effects of antivirals may include nausea, vomiting, runny nose, stuffy nose, cough, diarrhea, and behavioral changes. Zanamivir is not recommended for individuals who have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , or other lung disease. Based on your individual health status, your doctor will prescribe the antiviral drug that’s safest for you.
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Viruses Are The Culprits Behind Both Of These Illnesses
There are more than 200 viruses that can cause cold-like symptoms, says Campbell-Scherer. In contrast, there are just two influenza viruses, A and B, but they continually mutate, requiring the flu vaccine to be updated each year in order to protect against the latest strains.
You can contract cold or flu viruses by inhaling droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by coming in contact with the other persons hands or a shared object or surface, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Once the virus enters your body, it will zero in on the upper respiratory tract , although influenza can also affect the lungs. Cold viruses are infectious up to two days before symptoms appear and remain infectious until theyre gone. However, influenza is infectious one day before it appears and remains so for up to six days after symptoms develop.
Who Should Take Them
Antiviral medications are available by prescription only. They are not routinely given to every person who has a mild case of influenza but are reserved for those who have the most severe illness, are at high risk of complications, or close contacts of those at high risk. As well, they may be given to prevent influenza in a person who is at high risk of complications or their close contacts.
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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.
How Are Antivirals Used In Preventing Flu
Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral if you come in close contact with family members or others who have the flu and you want to try to avoid getting sick. However, the CDC discourages this as a routine practice, as it can lead to drug-resistant strains of the virus. Instead, the CDC recommends that people at risk of severe flu — such as pregnant women or people with asthma, diabetes, or heart disease — begin antiviral treatment as soon as flu symptoms appear. Others at high risk for complications from the flu include infants, the elderly, those with chronic illness, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives
It’s important, however, to remember that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent flu.
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When Are Antiviral Drugs Recommended
Antiviral drugs are recommended for both treatment and prevention of flu. Antiviral drugs work best when taken within 48 hours of onset of flu symptoms, but they may still offer benefits when taken later. These medications may reduce the duration of flu by one to two days and prevent severe flu complications.
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.
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What’s The Deal With Cough Medicine
On the shelf you’ll find tons of cough medicines with a zillion combinations of decongestants, antihistamines, analgesics/antipyretics, cough suppressants, and expectorants. Ask your pharmacist which, if any, would be right for you.
Cold And Flu Prevention Strategies
To prevent the flu, Health Canada encourages all Canadians over six months of age to be vaccinated the vaccine takes two weeks to become active and lasts for six months. Ideally, you should get one at the beginning of flu season which in Canada runs from November through April but its still effective even if you get it at a later date. Pregnant women, seniors, children and people with chronic health conditions have a higher risk of complications from the flu, so it is especially important that they get vaccinated. According to Campbell-Scherer, its also possible to have some immunity if the strain of cold or flu virus going around is a variation on one youve either contracted or been immunized for before.
Otherwise, the best way to avoid getting either the flu or a cold is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time, says , a naturopathic doctor in Victoria and a director at the British Columbia Naturopathic Association. If soap and water arent available, a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is the next best thing. Supplementing with vitamin D may also help.
But if youre an adult who is normally in good health and just feeling sick, stay at home in bed, says Campbell-Scherer. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and manage your symptoms with one of these over-the-counter remedies.
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