Influenza, or “the flu”, is an infection of the nose, throat, airways, and muscles. It is not the same thing as the common cold. It is usually much more severe, causing very high fevers, muscle pain, headache, fatigue, chills, and dry cough. Most people with the flu get better in seven to ten days; however, flu may lead to severe illness, especially in infants and the elderly.
- Get vaccinated to prevent influenza. Influenza vaccine (the flu shot) is widely available in the fall and is covered by most insurances. It is especially important to seek vaccination if you are over the age of 50, have a chronic illness (such as asthma, emphysema, diabetes, or heart disease), are immune compromised, or have close contact with people who have a chronic illness or are immune compromised.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick with influenza
- Wash your hands often
- Get plenty of rest, eat well, and exercise to support your immune system
- Avoid smoking
- Contact your care provider if you feel you have influenza. He or she may prescribe an anti-viral medication. Anti-viral medicines work best if given within 48 hours of the start of symptoms and can help reduce the severity, duration, and contagiousness of the flu.
- Get plenty of rest and drink fluids
- Take Tylenol or Advil to relieve fever, headache, and body aches
- Do not take aspirin