CDC: What to do if you get the flu


This Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 photo shows vials of flu vaccine in Philadelphia. This season’s flu shot did almost no good at protecting people over 65 from the worst and most dominant flu strain spreading around, according to a government study released Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Vaccinated people in that age group had only a 9 percent lower chance of going to the doctor with flu symptoms from the dominant virus than people who didn’t get the shot. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After an unusual year off, the U.S. flu season has arrived right on schedule. So what should you do if you get sick with the flu?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people with the flu experience mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. For the majority of flu cases, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone and avoiding contact with other people except to get medical attention.

“Your fever should be gone without the need for fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol. Until then, you should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events and public gatherings,” the CDC’s website states.

The CDC says young children, those 65 years and older, pregnant people or people with certain medical conditions may be at an increased risk of serious flu-related complications. The CDC provides a full list of people with increased risk of flu-related complications.

When should you go to the emergency room?

The emergency room should only be used for people who are very sick. The CDC says those who are only mildly ill should not go to the emergency room.

Those with emergency warning signs of flu sickness should go to the emergency room. If you are at higher risk and are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice.

What are emergency warning signs of flu?

In childrenIn adults
Fast breathing or trouble breathingDifficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Bluish lips or facePersistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Ribs pulling in with each breathPersistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
Chest painSeizures
Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)Not urinating
Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)Severe muscle pain
Not alert or interacting when awakeSevere weakness or unsteadiness
SeizuresFever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
Fever above 104°FWorsening of chronic medical conditions
In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
Worsening of chronic medical conditions
These lists are not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning. (Source: CDC)

Are there medicines to treat flu?

There are a number of drugs your doctor can prescribe for treating the flu. The CDC warns that that children and teenagers who have the flu or are suspected to have the flu should not be given Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or any salicylate containing products like Pepto Bismol. Experts say this can cause a rare, very serious complication called Reye’s syndrome.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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