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Got the flu? These tips may help

August 31, 2023
2 minutes

Having the flu is no fun, but most people don’t need medical care. Here’s what you need to know if flu strikes you.

How to treat flu at home
Flu symptoms vary. But they can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, tiredness, and head and body aches. Treat symptoms with over-the-counter medications and get plenty of rest. Flu usually goes away after a few days.

Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the help of medications like acetaminophen. Until then, you should stay away from work and school. If you must leave home for necessities or to see a doctor, wear a mask. To stop other people from catching the flu from you, wash your hands often. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. And throw tissues away as soon as you use them.

When to see a doctor

Some factors can make complications from flu more likely. You may be at higher risk if you:

  • Are over 65.
  • Are pregnant.
  • Live in a long-term care facility.
  • Have chronic lung disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Have a disorder of the blood, kidney or liver.
  • Have endocrine issues, such as diabetes.

If you’re high risk, call your primary care provider when you start experiencing flu symptoms. Unless you are very ill, you probably won’t need to go to the emergency department.

No matter your medical history, see a doctor right away if you have difficulty breathing. If you’re having chest pain or severe muscle pain, or you’re not urinating, you also need medical care ASAP. Your primary care provider may prescribe antiviral drugs to help you fight the flu virus. These prescription medications can make flu milder and shorten the time you’re sick.

How to prevent flu
The best flu is the one you never get. To help prevent it, get a flu vaccine each year. Wash your hands frequently. And disinfect surfaces that may get covered in germs.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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