,Sometimes it starts with an itchy nose which turns in to running faucet of the nasal cavity or a solid congestion, a scratchy throat, or a fever. These could all be signs of influenza, commonly called the flu, but what can we do when we have the flu? According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the first line of defense is a flu vaccination. The CDC recommends anyone who has not been vaccinated to get one now.
The flu season will be at its height from Dec. to Feb. and there are many cases already being reported. The flu is caused by a virus that tends to sweep the U.S. during the winter months. This years’ virus appears to be a return of pH1N1 which dates back to the 2009 flu pandemic. The second line of defense, once you are medically diagnosed with influenza, is a treatment with anti-viral drugs. The CDC states that it is best to begin the anti-viral doses early in the flu cycle.
Dr. David Zich, internal medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, states that people with the flu should get a lot of rest and take medications such as over the counter cold and flu medications. That is truly what you have to do when you have the flu. Dr. Zich also mentioned that anti-viral medication such as Tamiflu and Relenza can lessen the duration of the effects but it must be taken within 48 hours of the illness onset. Usually those first couple of days when we are trying to convince ourselves that we are not sick. He said that a trip to the emergency room was probably not necessary unless you were in a high risk group. Dr. Zich indicated an emergency room would likely send you home with the same instructions. The CDC also stated that staying home was an important thing to do when you have the flu and a key way to reduce the spread of influenza.
The CDC generates a weekly report of influenza data that helps the medical community track the illness. For the week ending Dec. 21 there were 1,610 positive tests reported with over 97 percent from the 2009 strain pH1N1 virus. The CDC reports that while a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit are common with the flu, certain other symptoms should be closely monitored and require immediate medical attention. Among these emergency warning signs are difficulty with breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking fluids, fever with a rash, children being so irritable that they refuse to be held and flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with worse symptoms and fever.
While the medical community braces for another influenza season the common answer to the what to do with the flu question is similar to years past. Rest, fluids, and over the counter cold and flu formula medications are your best answers. Dr. Zich stated that you might not believe it in the early stages of the influenza symptoms, but you will be feeling like yourself again in 5 to 7 days.
By Anthony Clark