Signs and Symptoms
1. Chills and a fever over 103 degrees.
2. Weakness and fatigue.
3. Headache and eye pain.
4. Sore throat.
5. Dry cough.
6. Muscle aches.
What to do now
1. The more rest you get, the sooner you’ll get well. And staying home lessens the risks of infecting people at school or work; Flu continues to be contagious for three or four days after symptoms appear.
To recover quickly:
1. Drink as much fluids – juice, water and hottea – as you can. Have chicken soup; the heat may relieve the feeling of congestion.
2. Take an aspirin substitute for aches and fever to a child under 12 who has flu, chicken pox, or any other illness you suspect of being caused by a virus. Avoid cold medicines designed to treat more than one symptom.
When to call a doctor
1. Flus are particularly dangerous for people with chronic illness, including respiratory, heart, cancer; diabetes; or kidney disease; cystic fibrosis; or recurring anemia. If you have one of these conditions- or if you are HIV positive- call your doctor at the first appearance of flu symptoms. Drugs can treat certain flu viruses and may help the elderly or chronically ill.
2. If you have a recurring fever or chest pain, or if you cough up thick, discolored, or bloody mucus; you may be developing pneumonia or bronchitis.
3. If you have an earache, facial swelling, drainage from your ear, or severe pain in your face or forehead. These may indicate another illness, such as sinusitis or an ear infection.
4. If your fever lasts more than three to four days or is higher than 102 degrees.
How to prevent it
1. Because flu viruses mutate from year to year, it’s impossible to develop immunity. To avoid infection or lessen the severity, get a flu shot each fall – particularly if you’re over 65 or you have a chronic health problem.
2. If you are pregnant, you should consult a doctor before getting flu shot.
3. If you are allergic to eggs, or think you are, consult a doctor about whether or not to be vaccinated.
4. The flu virus is spread in the spray from coughs and sneezes, so keeping a distance from people who have the flu may lessen your chances of infection.
Wash your hands frequently to reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu.
5. Avoid secondhand cigarette smoke, and if you smoke, quit.
6. Keep your immune system healthy by following a good diet, getting adequate sleep, keeping stress levels low, and drinking lots of water.