February 27, 2017
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Influenza (cont.)

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What are some flu treatments an individual can do at home (home remedies)?

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 a physician if you are unsure if you are a higher-risk person. Home care is recommended by the CDC if a person is 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 or head 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 like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Fever can be treated with over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others); read labels for safe dosage. Cough can be suppressed by cough drops, over-the-counter cough syrup, or cough medicine that may contain dextromethorphan (Delsym) and/or guaifenesin (Mucinex). Notify a doctor if an individual's symptoms at home get worse.

What types of doctors treat the flu?

Individuals with mild flu symptoms may not require the care of a physician unless they are a member of a high-risk group as described above. For many individuals, treatment is provided by their primary-care physician or provider (including internists or family medicine specialists and physician assistants and other primary caregivers) or pediatrician. Complicated or severe flu infections may require consultation with an emergency-medicine physician, critical-care specialist, infectious-disease specialist, and/or a lung specialist (pulmonologist).

What medications treat the flu?

The CDC published the following guidance concerning antiviral medications:

Antiviral medications with activity against influenza viruses are an important adjunct to influenza vaccine in the control of influenza.

  • Influenza antiviral prescription drugs can be used to treat influenza or to prevent influenza.
  • Oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir are chemically related antiviral medications known as neuraminidase inhibitors that have activity against both influenza A and B viruses.

The following are the CDC recommended antiviral medications for the treatment of influenza (flu) for the 2016-2017 season are as follows: oral oseltamivir (Tamiflu), inhaled zanamivir (Relenza), and intravenous peramivir (Rapivab). See Table 1 below for details about utilizing these drugs in adults and children.

Over-the-counter medications that may help reduce symptoms of congestion (decongestants), coughing (cough medicine), and dehydration include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin, Aleve), guaifenesin (Mucinex), dextromethorphan (Delsym), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and oral fluids. Aspirin may be used in adults but not in children.

Individuals with the flu may also benefit from some additional bed rest, throat lozenges, and possibly nasal irrigation; drinking fluids may help prevent symptoms of dehydration (for example, dry mucus membranes and decreased urination).

Picture of antiviral medications recommended for treatment and chemoprophylaxis of influenza

What can people eat when they have the flu?

While a person has the flu, good nutrition can help the recovery process. Anyone with the flu needs to avoid dehydration, soothe sore throat and/or upset stomach, and have a good protein intake. Dehydration can be avoided by adequate fluid intake such as juices (orange, cranberry, grapefruit, tomato, grape, and others). Sore throat and upset stomach may be relieved by broths or warm soups (chicken, vegetable, or beef) and plain crackers, toast, and ginger tea or noncarbonated ginger ale. Scrambled eggs, yogurt, and/or protein drinks are good protein sources. In addition, bananas, rice, and applesauce are food that are often recommended for those with an upset stomach. This list is not exhaustive but should provide a balanced approach to help speed recovery from the flu.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/15/2016

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

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