FLU (Influenza)

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish with chills/sweats (Not everyone has a fever)
  • Cough
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat, often mild
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea
  • Symptoms generally last about 1-2 weeks

 

Treatment suggestions:

Antibiotics DO NOT treat the flu. Over the counter medications should be used to treat symptoms. If the flu is detected within the first few days of illness, an antiviral prescription medicine (oseltamivir (Tamiflu)) may be prescribed to help reduce the severity and length of the symptoms.

Some commonly used medications are:

  • Antihistamines (i.e. loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), diphenhydramine (Benadryl)) help with sneezing, runny nose, post nasal drainage. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be more sedating than the other non-sedating antihistamines listed.
  • Decongestants (i.e. pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)) help with congestion, sinus pressure and sinus headaches. Available in 4 hour and 12 hour dosages (ask for at the pharmacy). Nasal strips or sprays may also help, but do not use the decongestant nasal sprays for more than 2-3 days as overuse can cause your symptoms to worsen.
  • Pain relievers (i.e. acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), naproxen (Aleve)) help relieve pain, headache, sore throat and body aches as well as help reduce fever. Throat sprays and lozenges can also help to sooth a sore throat.
  • Cough suppressants/Expectorants (i.e Robitussin products, Mucinex products, cough drops) may help to reduce coughing and chest congestion.
  • Thera-flu is a popular combination medicine used for multi symptom relief.

 

Other Treatment Suggestions:

  • Drink lots of liquids
  • A cool sponge bath may help reduce a fever
  • Breathe in steam may help reduce cough
  • Gargle with warm salt water may help lessen sore throat
  • Avoid smoke and other irritants

 

When to Visit the Student Health Center:

  • Shaking Chills
  • High fever (Temp > 102)
  • Severe Headache
  • Dark urine
  • Severe muscle pain or tenderness
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • If one has other underlying medical or respiratory conditions, or is immunocompromised and at higher risk for complications

 

Prevention Tips:

  • Get a yearly flu shot
  • Wash your hands often
  • Frequent use of hand sanitizer
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat healthy and get plenty of rest