You got your flu shot early; you carry hand sanitizer in your pocket, and you cross to the other side of the street anytime someone sniffles, but somehow you managed to get bitten by the FLU BUG!
First of all, it’s important to distinguish between true influenza and other garden variety illnesses.
Influenza is NOT a:
- stomach virus characterized by vomiting and diarrhea
- cold characterized by sniffling, sneezing and sore throat
- sinus infection characterized by head congestion, drainage, and sinus pain and pressure
Influenza is a highly contagious upper respiratory virus characterized by chills, fever, coughing and body aches.
What can I do?
There’s really no cure for influenza and most times the disease runs its course.
You may want to see your medical provider for Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Rapivab (peramivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) to help ease the symptoms and lessen the severity of the disease.
Keep in mind that antiviral medications may not be effective unless taken within the first 48 hours of coming down with the flu. Antiviral medications often are expensive (over $100 per prescription) and may not be covered by your insurance.
There are other things you can do to ease your symptoms and speed your recovery:
1. STAY HOME AND GET PLENTY OF REST.
The reason flu spreads so rampantly is not only because it is highly contagious but also that often people keep going to school or work or out in public.
When you have the flu, you are sick and you need to rest for several days while your body battles the virus. Stay home until you are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
2. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS.
Drinking fluids keeps your respiratory system hydrated and turns that nasty, thick mucus into a thin liquid you can cough up and spit out.
Oftentimes, staying hydrated is the key to keeping a viral infection from turning into a bacterial infection that requires a trip to the doctor and antibiotics.
3. TREAT FEVER AND BODY ACHES WITH ACETAMINOPHEN AND IBUPROFEN.
You’ll feel better and rest easier if you can keep fever and body aches under control.
NEVER give aspirin to anyone under the age of 19 because of its link to Reye’s syndrome, a serious disease that can cause brain and liver damage.
4. TAKE CARE OF YOUR COUGH.
Calm your cough with an over the counter expectorant which thins mucus so you can cough it out.
A cough suppressant will help give you a break from all that hacking. Try a lozenge to soothe your raw throat and quiet your cough.
5. GET SOME STEAM.
Turning on a hot shower to allow your bathroom to fill with steam is a good way open your airways, ease congestion and make it easier to breathe.
6. RUN A HUMIDIFIER.
Try a cool humidifier to keep the air moist to ease congestion and coughs. Warm humidifiers promote the growth of mold and bacteria.
Remember to keep your humidifier clean.
7. BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
Now is the time to take care of yourself. Surround yourself with comfort. Special pillows, blankets, food, drink, books and movies may help you feel better and speed healing.
The Family Health Clinic cares for you and your health.
Call us at 618-468-6800 or come by Fobes 1525 to find out how we can help you. We are open Monday—Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm for your convenience.