Image is from the CDC
The flu can make your feel terribly miserable and it can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia. If you develop the flu, you should know how to take care of yourself. Not only should you know what to do when you get the flu, you should also know how to keep from getting the flu in the first place.
Symptoms of the Flu
When you first start getting the flu, it can be difficult to tell whether you have a cold or the flu. With both, you will have a runny or stuffy nose, a cough, and a sore throat. If you have a cold, you will often have a low-grade fever. When it is the flu, you will have a high fever, often over 102 degrees. A few other symptoms that you would get when you have the flu includes:
- Pain or burning in the eyes
- Severe aches and pains in the muscles and the joints
- Weakness and extreme fatigue
- A severe headache
- The chills
What to Do If You Suspect You Have The Flu Very Early
If you think that you have the flu, you should go see a doctor. If the doctor performs a blood test and you tested positive for the flu, they can prescribe an antiviral drug, such as Tamiflu, Relenza, or Rapivab. These drugs will make your flu symptoms disappear two or three days earlier than you would have had you not taken the drug. These medications can also prevent complications of the flu.
What To Do At Home
If you waited too long to see a doctor to get the antiviral drugs, you would need to treat yourself at home. In order to keep from getting dehydrated, you should drink plenty of fluids. Gatorade is a good choice because it replaces the electrolytes that you lose when you are sick.
If you have a fever, you should take Tylenol or another type of fever reducer every 4 to 6 hours. If you are struggling with a cough, you should take an over the counter cough suppressant. If the cough is bad enough, your doctor can prescribe you a prescription cough medicine that contains codeine. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, you can try a nighttime cold and flu medication.
If you continue to have a high fever for over three days that won’t break, you should contact your doctor.
How To Keep From Spreading the Flu
To keep the people in your home from catching the flu, you should avoid contact with them as much as possible. When you cough or sneeze, you should cover your mouth with your shoulder. It is also important to wash your hands often to prevent your germs from ending up on doorknobs, faucets, and other places that everyone in the house will be touching.
How To Keep From Getting the Flu
The best way to keep from getting the flu is to get the flu vaccination every year. You can get the flu vaccine at your doctor’s office, the hospital, and even at your local pharmacy. Because the flu can result in serious complications, such as pneumonia, it is important to be immunized. Another way to keep from getting the flu is to stay away from sick people and wash your hands often.
The flu can make you feel awful for up to two weeks. If you can take the antiviral medication, the symptoms won’t last as long but you will still feel sick. When you know how to take care of yourself when you have the flu, you will feel better, sooner.