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Influenza, commonly known as the ‘Flu’, is a contagious viral infection that affects the
nose, throat and lungs. The best way to avoid getting the flu is by getting a yearly
flu shot. For more information on the flu vaccine, visit Flu Shot FAQs.
When there are a number of patients infected with the flu, it creates a problem for
health care providers. There are not enough appointments in the day to see all the
patients who seem to have the flu. Unfortunately, for most patients, there is little
that can be done to ease the symptoms. It can be very beneficial for health care
providers to assess those that are at a higher risk.
It is expected that most people will recover from the flu without needing medical care.
You can alleviate many of your symptoms through the use of over-the-counter
medicines (decongestants, cough preparations, etc.) that can be obtained without having
to meet with a provider.
Fever and body aches can often be lessened with the use of acetaminophen (Tylenol)
or NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin). Cough drops can also help ease the pain of a
sore throat and a cough. Check all labels and use over-the-counter medications as directed.
Aside from taking medication, proper rest, healthy eating habits, and an increase of
fluid intake can speed up the recovery process.
The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is
gone (this is not including the elimination of your fever through the use of
Viral illnesses can take some time to resolve. As long as you follow the
advice above, you will improve. The common cold can take about 7-12
days to resolve, and influenza can take up to 3 weeks. Those with a
cough may find that the cough persists a while after all the other
symptoms have resolved.
If you felt like you were getting better but suddenly get worse,
you should seek treatment immediately.
Check the BYU-Idaho website (www.byui.edu/fighttheflu) for links
to more helpful information.