Surviving the Flu: Signs That It’s Serious

| January 16, 2013

fighting the flu You feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. You’re coughing and aching and your head is pounding. It’s the flu, and your only option is to ride it out. But there are some strategies you can use to help ease your symptoms and make this bout of illness more bearable. DexKnows can help you find local resources and health care providers to help you get back on track.

Unfortunately for you, the flu is a virus, which means there’s no antibiotic that will cure you. But the good news is that for most people, the flu will pass without complications and without the need for medical intervention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In these cases, a good dose of Mom’s advice applies: Rest and drink plenty of fluids.

But be alert if you’re high-risk

People in high-risk groups, such as young children, pregnant women or the elderly might want to pay a visit to their doctor. These people are at higher risk for flu complications. Their doctors need to be aware of their illness and can test them to confirm that it is the flu, according to the CDC. If the person does have influenza, the doctor might decide to prescribe an antiviral drug such as Tamiflu or Relenza, which should be taken as early as possible to lessen the severity of the illness, according to the CDC.

Heed the warning signs

Even people who aren’t in high-risk groups should be on the lookout for signs of trouble — and get to the emergency room ASAP if they spot symptoms. In children, these warning signs are:

  • Having trouble breathing or breathing rapidly
  • A blue tinge to the skin
  • Not drinking fluids
  • Extreme irritability
  • Fever with a rash
  • The child won’t wake up or interact
  • Flu symptoms that improve, but a cough and fever return and worsen

The symptoms to watch out for are similar in adults, but adults may also experience:

  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting that is severe and persistent

Stop the spread

While you’re riding out your illness, it’s important to steer clear of others so you don’t spread the virus. According to the CDC, it’s not safe to be around others until you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours after you’ve stopped taking a fever-reducing medicine. And if you do have to leave the house, protect others by wearing a mask to contain droplets that can spread the disease when you talk, cough or sneeze. If you have questions about the flu, DexKnows can help put you in touch with local health care providers who can answer your questions.

And remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the flu. Not everyone will have severe symptoms, so if you suspect the flu, take precautions not to infect others around you.

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Category: Health & Fitness, Primary Care

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