Reduce fever, drink, rest to recover from flu
Posted January 13, 2015
With the flu epidemic across the country, Dr. Allen Mask shares some practical tips on what you can do take care of your family during this record breaking cold and flu season.
Have basic health care tools on hand.
Invest in an inexpensive digital thermometer. They are available at any pharmacy for less than $10. The thermometer will tell you if you have a cold or the flu, Dr. Mask said.
"If you have a mild fever or no fever at all, you likely have a cold. If your fever is edging up to 103 or higher, there is a good chance you have the flu," he explained.
Once you are diagnosed with the flu, fever reducers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen products will make you feel 50 percent better. Avoid aspirin for fever during flu season because of risk for a liver condition called Reye's Syndrome.
Decongestants should only be used for a runny, drippy runny nose. Talk with your pharmacist about getting some real pseudoephedrine which you need to sign for behind the pharmacy counter. If you have high blood pressure, avoid decongestants. A saline nasal spray, a neti pot or Afrin nasal spray are easy ways to clear congestion without resorting to medication.
Drink lots of fluids. Water is the best choice. Go above the usually recommended eight glasses per day. A fever, runny nose, cough and rapid breathing are a sign you are losing fluids, and you need to replace those to feel better.
Get lots of bed rest. If you are sweating a lot, plan to change clothes in the middle of the night to feel cooler.
See your doctor if you have a high fever, are short of breath, have a bad headache, stiff neck or just feel that things are not right.
Another important point: Stay home if you are sick. Ask your doctor for a note to let your school or work place know that you need to be isolated during your illness.