What To Do If You Get the Flu
I’m guessing that the flu isn’t on your top-10 wish list, right? But just in case you get sick
this flu season, here’s a list of 10 things you can do to help ease your symptoms—and to
stop the flu in its tracks and protect others.
1. Stock up. A few supplies may make it a bit easier to manage the flu. It’s best to
have these on hand before you get sick. Otherwise, send a healthy member of your
family out on an errand, if you can.
• Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen for reducing fevers and easing
• A thermometer
• Cough syrup or cough drops
• Saline nose drops or sprays
• Drinks such as fruit juices or tea (avoid caffeine)
• Easy-to-eat foods such as clear soups, crackers, or applesauce1,2
2. Stay home! The first day you have symptoms, you may be tempted to
venture out to work or school. Please don’t! Not only do you need the rest, but
this is also when you’re most contagious.1 Try to nap—and read or binge-watch
your favorite television episodes.
3. Prevent the spread. In addition to staying home, wash your hands often and
cover your cough and sneeze into your sleeve.2
4. Drink fluids, breathe steam. This is a great way to thin your mucus,
making it easier to cough up. This may help prevent a lung infection. Using a
humidifier (a cool mist) or breathing in steam from a hot shower may also help
5. Calm your cough. It can be exhausting, I know. Try over-the-counter (OTC)
cough medicines—an expectorant helps thin mucus. Do not give a child under age
4 any type of cough medicine. Sucking on lozenges may also help your cough or
6. Ease nose woes. You—or your kids—can try saline nose drops or sprays to
ease nasal congestion. First, put a few drops into one nostril. Then gently blow the
mucus and saline out. Repeat on the other side.1
7. Treat other symptoms. Sure, a fever—along with chills and achiness—is a
sign your body is fighting off the virus. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer in
silence. Ask me if you have any questions about which fever reducer to take. But
don’t forget: Never give aspirin to someone younger than 19—it can lead to a
8. Ask about antivirals. Your health care provider may advise you to take one.
If you do this within 48 hours of when symptoms begin, you have a fighting
chance of reducing their impact.1,2
9. Know when to seek medical help. If you or a loved one has any of these
symptoms, call the doctor:
• Dark urine
• Fever of 100 degrees F for 3 or more days
• Returning fever or sore throat after feeling better
More serious symptoms require immediate medical care:
• Wheezing or shortness of breath
• Coughing up blood
• Chest pain or pressure
• Balance problems or confusion2
10. Talk to me! And of course it goes without saying: If you need guidance
about any products—or any questions whatsoever—let me know, and I’ll try to
steer you in the right direction.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for
professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other
medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
1. WebMD: “10 Tips to Ease Flu Symptoms.” Available at: http://www.webmd.
com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/coping-with-flu#1 Accessed 8-31-17.
2. Public Health: “Treatment of Flu.” Available at: https://www.publichealth.va.
gov/flu/treatment/ Accessed 8-31-17.
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