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Influenza (cont.)

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What are some treatments an individual can do at home for the flu?

First, individuals should be sure they are not members of a high-risk group that is more susceptible to getting severe flu symptoms. Check with your physician if you are unsure if you are a higher-risk person. Home care is recommended by the CDC if a person is normally healthy with no underlying diseases or conditions (for example, asthma, lung disease, pregnant, or immunosuppressed).

Increasing liquid intake, warm showers, and warm compresses, especially in the nasal area, can reduce the body aches and reduce nasal congestion. Nasal strips and humidifiers may help reduce congestion, especially while trying to sleep. Some physicians recommend nasal irrigation with saline to further reduce congestion; some recommend nonprescription decongestants. Fever can be treated with over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin and others); read labels for safe dosage. Cough can be suppressed by cough drops and over-the-counter cough syrup. If an individual's symptoms at home get worse, their doctor should be notified.

When should a person go to the emergency department for the flu?

The CDC urges people to seek emergency medical care for a sick child with any of these symptoms:

  1. Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  2. Bluish or gray skin color
  3. Not drinking enough fluids
  4. Severe or persistent vomiting
  5. Not waking up or not interacting
  6. Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  7. Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and cough

The following is the CDC's list of symptoms that should trigger emergency medical care for adults:

  1. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  2. Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  3. Sudden dizziness
  4. Confusion
  5. Severe or persistent vomiting
  6. Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  7. Having a high fever for more than three days is another danger sign, according to the WHO, so the CDC has also included this as another serious symptom.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/23/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/influenza/article.htm

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