Influenza can be the worst! As a respiratory illness, influenza can cause a ton of unwanted symptoms in the nose, throat, and lungs. Like a cold, the flu is contagious, however, unlike a cold, it can be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that 8% of the United States suffers from influenza every season and thus stress the importance of knowing the symptoms and signs of the flu to prevent further infection and prevent life-threatening complications.
When the flu first starts, it generally does not get worse over time. Influenza symptoms start very quickly and are normally much worse in severity than a common cold. Flu symptoms include:
- High fever
- Muscles, body, and headaches
- Cough and sneezes
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
More severe symptoms are rare in adults but can be common for children:
The flu can take up to 5 days to recover from however there are many methods to help ease your current signs of flu while you’re waiting for recovery. Depending on your symptoms, these treatments may vary.
Drink plenty of clear fluids such as water, sports drinks or broth. Clear liquids contain a high volume of water which will be needed to fight the virus. You can also try a humidifier for a stuffy nose or saltwater for a sore throat.
In order for your body to fight a viral infection its needs as much energy as possible. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night can really help fight influenza.
Antihistamines can help with congestion but can make you drowsy. Decongestant can help as well, however, they will keep a patient hyper and awake. If you have high blood pressure you’ll want to take pseudoephedrine. Like a cold, Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken to help with body aches and fevers.
To help with congestion symptoms, you can either buy an over-the-counter spray to help break up the gunk in your nose, throat, and lungs. For a home remedy, you can mix ¼ a teaspoon of salt, ¼ a teaspoon of baking soda and 8 ounces of warm water. You can use a bulb syringe to squirt it in your nose, but you’ll want to be over a sink.
Treating a cough
Most flu coughs can either be really dry or extremely wet. The best way to cut up phlegm or wet a dry throat is with a cup of hot herbal tea. Not only does it help soothe your throat, but it also helps keep you hydrated. It’s a myth to drink alcohol to help with a cough and will only dehydrate you.
When You Need to Visit Urgent Care
Sometimes flu symptoms can get extreme; especially for children and the elderly. It’s in these rare cases that influenza needs more than just at home rest, if you are one of the following people, please keep a close look at your symptoms:
- Young children 5 years of age or younger
- Toddlers 2 years of age or younger
- Seniors 65 years of age or older
- Residents of nursing homes
- Pregnant women, or women who were recently pregnant
- Overweight people
- People with chronic illness or weakened immune systems
Some severe symptoms to look out for include the following. If you are in the category of “at-risk” people listed above, please seek medical care immediately for the following symptoms:
- Trouble breathing and/or chest pain
- Extreme dehydration
- Confusion and dizziness
- A fever above 104 degrees
- Extreme cases of vomiting and diarrhea
One of the most important reasons to seek care immediately if you are at risk is that the flu can lead to other complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma issues, and heart problems. Even if you’re not at risk, these symptoms should be looked at as soon as possible.
However, if you are not at risk, you may not need to receive immediate care for fever above 104 degrees. Only seek care if the fever does not break after 12 hours.
Knowing how to react to flu symptoms is one step in preventing complications due to illness, however, there are many ways to avoid getting influenza entirely. The following steps can help keep you and your loved ones from getting sick during the next flu season.
To avoid getting the flu, it is helpful to keep yourself clean. Wash your hands often, especially during influenza season or after interacting with someone who is experiencing flu season symptoms.
Cover your mouth
While sick, it’s hard to really process everything that going on around you. However, remembering to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing can really help those around you from catching your bug. Use a tissue or the crook of your elbow to help contain whatever it is that comes out of your mouth!
Get your flu shot
Every flu season there will be clinics and flu shots available. Sometimes there are even nasal spray options for patients that don’t like needles. Each shot includes protections for up to three or four flu viruses common for the season. However, please note that some vaccines contain egg protein, do let your physician know if you have any egg allergies before getting your shot.
One of the quickest ways for the flu to spread is in a crowd of people. Offices, public transport, schools, and childcare centers during the flu season can be ground zero for most large cases of the illness. If the flu has been reported at a school or in your office, staying clear for at least 24 hours after it’s been reported may help prevent you from catching a case of the sniffles.
Stop Flu Symptoms at Las Vegas Urgent Care
If your flu is causing you more trouble then normal, our Urgent Care staff is here to provide you with the best urgent care in Las Vegas. We know how to help prevent symptoms from becoming life-threatening and we know how to treat people who are at risk of complications due to influenza. Contact us today to make an appointment and we’ll help you in no time!