Information About the Flu
- Flu symptoms include extreme fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, chills, cough, sweats, diarrhea, vomiting and a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit in adults and 103 to 105 F in children. If you have flu symptoms, stay home until 24 hours after your fever goes away, to ensure you are not contagious to others.
- If you have flu symptoms, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Do not use tobacco or alcohol while you are sick. Over-the-counter medications may relieve some of your symptoms, but do not give children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms products containing aspirin, because of the risk of Reye's syndrome.
- According to the CDC, antiviral drugs may help lessen the severity of the flu. These medications require a prescription and come in pill, liquid and inhaler form. Antiviral drugs, which keep viruses from reproducing in your body, work best if they are started within two days of when symptoms begin. Tamiflu, Flumadine and Symmetrel can be administered to people one year of age or older; Relenza is prescribed to people over the age of seven.
- Seek medical help immediately if children exhibit symptoms such as fast breathing or labored breathing. Other signs of an emergency in children include skin with a bluish tint, a fever occurring with a rash, refusal to drink liquids, excessive lethargy or flu-like symptoms that resolve but then return with a fever and cough. In adults, an emergency is indicated by pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, dizziness, confusion or severe vomiting.
- The Mayo Clinic recommends getting a flu vaccine annually. The vaccine is especially important for children older than six months, pregnant women, people older than 65, and anyone with a chronic health condition.
Practicing good hygiene can also protect you and others from getting infected. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and toss the used tissue into the trash immediately. Wash your hands often, using warm water and soap, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If possible, avoid contact with sick people.