Influenza Home Care

Tip

Unsure what to do about the flu? This information sheet can help! If you don’t know if you need to be seen, experienced nurses are just a phone call away to help you figure out the best course of action. Do you need immediate care, an appointment the next day, or will self care help you? Call the Health Center at 4355 for advice.

What is the flu?

Flu, also called influenza, is a contagious viral disease that affects the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Influenza viruses are easily spread from person to person in tiny droplets.

Symptoms associated with flu

Fever greater than 100 degrees F, plus at least two of the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • cough
  • chills
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • body aches
  • fatigue

Home treatment for flu

  • rest
  • drink plenty of liquids like water, sports drinks, ginger ale
  • monitor your temperature with a thermometer
  • use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for fever and aches and pains
  • dress in light clothing and use light bedding to relieve fever, and avoid hot showers
  • over-the-counter cough medicine and decongestants can help symptoms
  • follow a bland diet
  • remember that antibiotics do not cure the flu

When to call the Health Center (4355) or your health care provider

  • a fever over 101 for more than 3 days
  • a fever over 100 that starts after you have been sick 3 days
  • a cough that lasts more than 10 days after other symptoms have gotten better, especially if you’re still bringing up sputum
  • fast breathing/trouble breathing/shortness of breath
  • not able to hold down fluids
  • severe or persistent vomiting
  • changes in mental status, confusion
  • seizures
  • chest pain or pressure
  • symptoms do not improve in a few days or get worse
  • symptoms improve and then return with fever and worsening of cough
  • headache with a stiff neck
  • any unusual symptoms that are of concern