Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

What you need to know about the flu

Thursday, January 17, 2013 by NATE JASTRZEMSKI njastrzemski@tnonline.com in Local News

Prevention

If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

· Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

· Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

· Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy food.

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Warning signs

In children:

· Bluish skin color

· Fast or troubled breathing

· Not drinking enough fluids

· Not waking up or not interacting

· Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held

· Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

· Fever with a rash

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

· Being unable to eat

· Has trouble breathing

· Has no tears when crying

· Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

In adults

· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

· Sudden dizziness

· Confusion

· Severe or persistent vomiting

· Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Source: Center for Disease Control

Treatment

· Get plenty of rest.

· Drink clear fluids like water, broth, sports drinks or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated.

· Place a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever.

· Put a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier.

· Gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat.

· Cover up with a warm blanket to calm chills.

If you are an at risk individual (pregnant, over 65, person with underlying chronic conditions) you should contact your health care provider if you develop influenza-like symptoms.

Your health care provider may prescribe antiviral medications to make your illness milder and prevent serious complications.

Your health care provider may also prescribe antibiotics if your flu has progressed to a bacterial infection.