Looking After Yourself When You Have Influenza
The best things you can do to look after yourself when you have the flu are:
- Rest you will probably feel very weak and tired until your temperature returns to normal . Rest provides comfort and allows your body to use its energy to fight the infection.
- Stay at home stay away from work, school and any places where you may have contact with others, especially while you are contagious. The period during which adults are contagious is usually around 35 days from when the first symptoms appear, and up to 7 days in younger children.
- Drink plenty of fluids extra fluids are needed to replace those lost because of the fever . If your urine is dark, you need to drink more. Try to drink a glass of fluids, such as water, every hour while you are awake.
What About Influenza Complications
In some cases of the flu, severe illness, and complications can develop. This can result in hospitalisation and even death.
People at higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu include:
- people with chronic medical conditions.
The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.
I Think I Have Influenza Should I See A Doctor
Most people who are generally healthy wont need to see their doctor for the flu. As symptoms of the flu are similar to COVID-19, talk to your doctor about testing for COVID-19 infection.
If you have the flu, try to rest, maintain a good fluid intake, and manage your symptoms. This will help you recover and prevent dehydration. Your immune system will fight the infection and symptoms will usually clear up on their own.
If you do need to see a GP for your symptoms, make sure you call ahead first so they can make sure theres no one in an at-risk group around when you have your appointment.
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What To Do If You Are Sick With The Flu
Influenza can range from a mild to severe illness, but most healthy college students infected with the flu virus will recover in 3-5 days without medical attention. If you are sick with the flu see the tips below on how to take care of yourself and to keep others healthy. Remember that you can spread the flu to others during the time period from 24 hours before you get sick until 24 hours after your fever goes away. Know the signs and symptoms of flu. Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, flu symptoms can include runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea, or vomiting. Make sure you have a thermometer available to check your temperature if you feel ill, and over the counter medications containing ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat fever and flu symptoms. Make sure that you follow dosing guidelines and don’t mix different multi-symptom cold and flu medications.
Stay in a separate room and avoid contact with others while you are ill. If someone is helping to care for you, wear a mask, if available and tolerable, when they are in the room. Try to maintain a 6 foot distance from others if you are unable to wear a mask. Do not go to class if you have a flu-like illness, until you are no longer likely to spread the virus. Make sure you contact your professor by phone or e-mail to let them know about your illness and make plans to make up any missed assignments, etc.
Rest Is Key To Recovering From The Flu
If you get the flu, be sure to stay hydrated. You can also take medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help reduce the severity of your symptoms, such as fever and body aches.
Hydration and symptom management arent enough, however. The key to recovering from the flu as fast as possible is to get plenty of rest. By resting during the day, your body will be able to devote more resources to fighting the virus.
Sleep is also important. Sleep gives your body the opportunity to focus on strengthening your immune system. Research tells us that your body uses the time you sleep to develop key proteins in your brain. These specialized proteins are designed to boost your immune system so youre better equipped to fight off infections.
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When Does The Flu Become Contagious
Once you have the influenza virus, you can spread it to other people about a day before you first notice symptoms.
Remember, the average incubation period for the flu is about two days. So, if you come into contact with virus on Saturday morning, you can potentially start spreading it to others by Sunday evening. And by Monday afternoon, youll likely start feeling the dreaded body aches that come with the flu.
Viral shedding refers to the release of the virus from your body into your surrounding environment. It tends to peak during your first day experiencing symptoms. This means youre usually most contagious on this day. Once you develop symptoms, youll still be contagious for another five to seven days .
Children, older adults, and those with a weakened immune system may be contagious for a longer period of time.
Its often hard to know when you have the flu coming on. Unlike the symptoms of the common cold, which develop gradually, the symptoms of the flu often come on suddenly.
The common symptoms of the flu can include:
Add Moisture To The Air
Dry air can make your symptoms worse. A vaporizer or humidifier adds moisture to the air and can help loosen up congestion.
There are many types of humidifiers and vaporizers available on the market. Examples include cool-mist humidifiers and steam vaporizers. These can be found easily for a reasonable price at your local big-box store, pharmacy, or online.
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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, making it milder, or shortening its course.
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.
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.
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Which Treatments Should I Take For Flu Symptoms
The flu treatment you should take depends on your symptoms. For example, if you have nasal or sinus congestion, then a decongestant can be helpful.
come in oral or nasal spray forms. Decongestants are used to reduce swelling in the nasal passageways. However, nasal spray decongestants should not be used for more than a few days because, if they are used too long and then stopped, they can cause rebound symptoms.
If you have a runny nose, postnasal drip, or itchy, watery eyes — then an antihistamine may be helpful for your flu symptoms. Antihistamines block the effect of “histamine,” and help relieve such annoying symptoms as sneezing, itching, and nasal discharge.
Some over-the-counter antihistamines often make people drowsy, whereas decongestants can make people hyper or keep them awake. Keep in mind that both decongestants and antihistamines can interact with other drugs you may be taking, and they may aggravate some conditions. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which flu symptom treatment is best for you.
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.
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Get Helpful Advice From An Experienced Nurse Practitioner
If youre not sure if you have the flu or youre looking for home remedy advice, you dont have to figure it all out on your own.
Our care lines allow you to talk with a nurse 24/7, 365 days a year at no charge. They can give you more home remedy advice based on the symptoms youre feeling and help you decide if its time to see a doctor for flu treatment.
To get in touch, call the HealthPartners CareLine at or the Park Nicollet Nurse Line at .
What Should I Do If I Get Sick
Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.
If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a higher-risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider .
Certain people are at increased risk of serious flu-related complications . For a full list of people at increased risk of flu-related complications, see People at Higher Risk of Developing FluRelated Complications. If you are in a higher-risk group and develop flu symptoms, its best for you to contact your doctor early in your illness. Remind them about your higher-risk status for flu. CDC recommends that people at higher risk for complications should get antiviral treatment as early as possible, because benefit is greatest if treatment is started within 2 days after illness onset.
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Is It Too Late To Get A Flu Shot
If it turns out you dont have the flu, and you havent received your flu shot, then you can get one on the spot. To schedule your flu shot and/or COVID-19 vaccine or booster at a CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic nearest you, visit cvs.com or use the CVS Pharmacy App.
Schedule your flu and COVID-19 vaccines today! These vaccines are an important way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious illness.
Stay Home And Get Plenty Of Rest
Mind your flu manners. On the first day you have symptoms, call your work or school and tell them you wonât be coming in for a few days. You’re sick — and very contagious! Take advantage of down time and give your body some much-needed rest. Curl up on the couch and spend some time reading, watching DVDs, or just cat-napping while your body battles the virus.
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How Does The Flu Spread
The flu mostly spreads through respiratory particles that are released when your cough and sneeze. If you have the flu and sneeze in a crowded area, those around you can inhale the particles of your sneeze and get the virus.
The virus can also be transmitted through coming into contact with objects or surfaces, such as a door handle or keyboard, that are coated in these respiratory particles. If you touch a contaminated object and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you may get the flu.
If you already have the flu, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of passing it to others:
- Stay home. The flu is extremely contagious, so it can spread quickly in crowded settings, such as schools and offices. Try to limit your contact with others until youve been fever-free for at least 24 hours.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands with soap and warm water often, especially after coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water arent available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose. When you sneeze or tough, try to do so into a tissue or the crook of your elbow to reduce the spread of respiratory particles. Make sure to quickly throw away any used tissues.
What To Do If You Get The Flu
The following information is from the Vermont Department of Health. Visit their website for more information on preventing and treating the flu.
The majority of flu cases can be treated with over-the-counter medication, rest, and re-hydration. If your child begins to experience respiratory distress or dehydration, contact your pediatrician immediately.
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How Can I Avoid Getting Influenza
Getting an influenza vaccine every year is recommended for everyone aged 6 months or older. People in the above groups are eligible for free flu vaccination each year under the National Immunisation Program.
While not 100% effective, the flu vaccine provides a high level of protection and can reduce symptoms in those still getting sick.
In Victoria, flu vaccination is free for people with a higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu:
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months and over
- pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- people 65 years and over
- people aged 6 months and older with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of severe influenza and its complications:
- cardiac disease
- haematological disorders
- children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.
Anyone in these at-risk groups with flu-like symptoms should see their doctor as soon as possible.
can be co-administered with a flu vaccine. There is no requirement for a time interval between these vaccines.
Flu Shot Side Effects
CDC note that the flu vaccine has a good safety record, and it cannot cause flu.
A person may experience the following adverse effects after having a vaccine, but these will be mild and usually pass within a few days.
- pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
- muscle aches
Around 12 people in every 1 million may develop a condition known as Guillain-Barr syndrome . However, people can also develop GBS after having flu, and the risk of this is higher than with the vaccine. The risk of developing GBS may be lower with the nasal spray version of the vaccine.
If someone experiences hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing after any vaccine, they should seek immediate medical help as these may be the sign of an allergic reaction. A severe reaction is known as anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
how to recognize anaphylaxis and what to do if it happens.
People who have previously had an allergic reaction to a vaccine should not have the flu shot.
Is the flu shot safe? Find out here.
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Lifestyle Tips For Avoiding Flu
Tips for avoiding infection include:
- practicing good hygiene, including frequent hand washing
- keeping the immune system strong by following a healthful diet
- quitting or avoiding smoking, as smokers are more likely to develop complications
- staying away from people who have the flu
People should also stay away from others when they have the flu to avoid spreading it themselves.
for more information on how to avoid flu.
up to 6 feet away from them when they cough, sneeze, talk, or breathe.
A healthy individual can pass on the virus a day before they, themselves, have symptoms. In other words, it is possible to pass on the flu before you know you have it. The infected individual can continue to transmit the virus for up to 57 days after symptoms appear.
People with a weakened immune system, older people, and young children may be able to pass on the virus for longer than this.
Flu is most contagious in the first 34 days after symptoms appear.
A person can develop flu symptoms if droplets that contain the virus and come from the breath of another person enter their mouth, nose, or lungs.
This transmission if:
- Someone without the virus is near a person with flu.
- Someone who is virus free handles an object a person with the virus has touched and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Research shows that just breathing can spread the flu virus. Learn more here.
For flu, this is , but it can vary from 1 to 4 days.
A person can transmit the virus even before symptoms appear.
Get Medical Help Immediately For These Symptoms
Infants and Children
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not urinating or no tears when crying
- Severe or repeated vomiting
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Pain or pressure in chest or belly
- Sudden dizziness
- Flu-like symptoms that get better but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or belly
- Sudden dizziness
- Flu-like symptoms that get better but then return with fever and worse cough
- Severe dehydration
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