Flu Prevention and Management Tips
January 11, 2013
Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene (CMC/DHK) has been caring for an increased number of patients with influenza-like illness over the past few weeks, similar to state and national trends. Symptoms of the flu typically last between 5 and 7 days and can include: fever/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and occasionally, vomiting and diarrhea.
Following New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines, we are encouraging anyone who is six months of age or older who has not received this year’s flu vaccine to get vaccinated. Other ways to prevent the flu include: washing your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand cleaners; avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes, as germs spread this way; getting plenty of rest, eating healthy foods and drinking lots of fluids; and avoiding crowded areas and close contact with others who are sick.
Managing Flu Symptoms
Dr. David Lein, Infectious Disease, shares: “If you are normally a healthy individual, the best treatment for the flu is to stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and wash your hands frequently. Unless you have been advised otherwise, due to another health condition, taking Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen may help to reduce your fever, and ease muscle pains. The flu typically lasts 5-7 days and antibiotics do not shorten the duration of the flu virus. Antiviral agents should be reserved for those patients who are at risk for severe illness with flu, or who are being admitted to the hospital because of their infection.
“It’s important to note that those with chronic lung disease, such as emphysema or asthma, or who have compromised immune systems, are pregnant, or have significant heart disease, are at greater risk of complications from the flu and should speak with a healthcare provider. Those who are experiencing significant or worsening shortness of breath, persistent or worsening fever, a worsening cough or increase in sputum production, or chest discomfort with breathing, should also speak with a healthcare provider.”