Our flu season in Connecticut this year looks like it is shaking out to be a moderately severe season. Reports of flu are increased and have come a full month before we typically see widespread flu in our state. Here are some tips that the Health Department and the CDC recommend for getting through illnesses in your home.
How do you know if you have the flu?
You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. Colds and flu simply have to be allowed to run their course.
Here are other steps to consider if you are ill:
- Stay Home and limit your exposure to other people. If you are sick, try not to make others sick too. CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other things you have to do and no one else can do for you.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze, and throw used tissues into the trash immediately.
- Stay hydrated and rested. Fluids can help loosen mucus and make you feel better, especially if you have a fever. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated products. These may dehydrate you.
- Gargle with salt water to relieve a sore throat
- Use a cool-mist humidifier to help relieve stuffy noses.
- Know your medicine options. For over-the-counter (OTC) options that can help relieve the symptoms of colds and flu.
Nasal Decongestants to unclog a stuffy nose
Cough suppressants quiet coughs
Expectorants loosen mucus so you can cough it up Antihistamines help stop a runny nose and sneezing
Pain relievers can ease fever, headaches, and minor aches
When should you go the Doctor or Emergency Room?
If you are pregnant or have a chronic health condition (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease): You are at higher risk of complications from the flu. It is important to see your healthcare provider and get treated as early as possible. Your health care professional can prescribe prescription antiviral medications approved by FDA that are indicated for treating the flu. Talk to your health care professional to find out what will work best for you.
If you or any household member has any of the following emergency warning signs:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
Infants who has any of these signs:
- Being unable to eat
- Has trouble breathing
- Has no tears when crying
- Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough