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Treating the Flu
Despite your best efforts, you get sick. You probably have a fever, and you have a cough, runny nose, body aches, chills and feel just generally miserable. So what should you do?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most people will recover from the flu or similar illnesses without having to seek medical assistance. However, if you have a chronic illness or a compromised immune system, asthma or other respiratory condition, or if you are very old or very young, you should call your doctor and ask about getting an anti-viral medication such as Tamiflu.
A small number of people should seek immediate medical attention, including going to the emergency room. In adults, the symptoms that suggest the need for an ER visit include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough, according to the CDC.
Children should go to the ER if they exhibit symptoms such as fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, refusing fluids, not waking up or not interacting, extreme irritability, flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough, or fever with rash. Seek emergency help for an infant who is unable to eat, has trouble breathing, has no tears when crying and/or has significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.
Most people, though, just have to wait it out. If you have a virus. it can take several days before you feel like yourself again. Until then:
Stay home. If you are sick, don’t go to work, school, the store, parties or anywhere else people gather. You won’t be able to function normally, and you will make people around you sick. Don’t share glasses or silverware, washcloths or towels. Use disinfecting wipes on things you touch, such as doorknobs, faucets, etc.
Drink fluids. Water, broth, herbal tea and sports drinks are the best options. You also can suck on ice chips or ice pops.
Take over-the-counter medication. With a serious virus, your fever can go up to more than 102 degrees, and it could stay there for a few days. Use pain and fever-reducing medication such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin.
Wait. Stay home until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours.