So you think it’s the Flu – now what?

Resting, staying hydrated and taking over -the-counter medicine can help you recover from the flu. 

Symptoms of the flu:

Fever/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and/or body aches, headache, fatigue, and vomiting or diarrhea.  The flu and COVID have similar symptoms, but the only way to know for sure is to get tested at a testing facility. 

East Coast Telepsychiatry - Woman Sick Taking Medications

So what do you do for the flu?

If you are having fever or body aches, try taking Tylenol alternating with Ibuprofen every 6 hours as needed, but be sure to take  the Ibuprofen with food on your stomach to avoid an ulcer. You can also use a heating pad to the affected area.  

If you have a runny or stuffy nose, you can use saline nasal spray, a Nettie pot, or meds such as Alka-Seltzer Cold & Flu Plus. 

If you should have a cough, try a cough syrup like Robitussin DM. In addition to a cough syrup, you may want to use a  medication to help clear the mucous out of your sinuses or lungs such as Mucinex (guanfacine). Adults should take Guanfacine  1200 mg every 12 hours as needed with a quart of water, juice, or tea. Avoid alcohol and caffeine which can cause dehydration  and avoid smoke which can aggravate your symptoms.  

Stay home from work or school if you have a fever or bad cough. 

Gargling with warm salt water several times a day or drinking warm lemon water mixed with honey may help soothe a sore throat  and decrease the coughing spells.  

While no studies have shown that Echinacea can prevent the flu, there is some evidence that it may modestly relieve cold/flu symptoms and or shorten the duration of the symptoms. There is also some evidence that zinc lozenges 10-24 mg each can be  taken every 4 hours at the beginning of a cold or flu to help reduce symptoms. Additionally, Vitamin C doesn’t reduce your risk of  getting a cold, but it may have a small effect in reducing the duration of cold/flu symptoms. 

Stay hydrated with water, broth, chicken soup, tea, and electrolyte drinks. Signs of dehydration include increased thirst, feeling  weak and not urinating your normal amount. You want to keep your urine light yellow or nearly clear. You may also want to use a  humidifier which can help reduce the spread of a virus, decrease cough and nasal congestion, and keep the membranes in your  nose, eyes, and mouth moist, which can also prevent bacteria from getting into your body.  

While the flu can typically be taken care of at home, it is important that you monitor your symptoms and avoid contact with  others. You can be contagious for a day before your symptoms start and up to a week after your symptoms subside.  

East Coast Telepsychiatry - FLU Viruses

When to go to a FLU/COVID treatment facility:  

The flu can be serious, with about 20,000 to 50,000 people dying from it every year just in the U.S. If you experience any of the  following symptoms go to the E.R.: 

  • A fever greater than 103 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Confusion 
  • Difficulty breathing Severe muscle pain or weakness
  • Not peeing or peeing very little Seizure 
  • Chest or stomach pain or pressure
  • Bluish skin, lips, or nails 
  • Persistent dizziness
  • Symptoms that don’t improve in a week 

And as always, wash your hands regularly. If you cough, do not cough into your hand. Rather cough into a Kleenex or into the  angle of your arm opposite of your elbow.  


If you need assistance, call ECT at 843-299-2033 or click here.

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