Yuck, I Have the Flu — Now What?
By Ann Bischel, Mayo Clinic Health System
Got the flu?
Don’t worry quite yet. There are ways you can self-manage:
Hydrate. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids, such as water, juice and warm soups, to prevent dehydration.
Rest. Catch up on your sleep to help your immune system fight off the infection.
Medication. Generally, you’ll need nothing more than bed rest and fluids. You also may consider an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce some of the aches associated with the flu. But in some cases, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication. If taken soon after you notice symptoms, the medication may shorten your illness by a day or so and help prevent serious complications.
If infected with the flu, it’s important to take certain measures to ensure it doesn’t spread to others around you:
Wash your hands. Thorough and frequent hand washing or an alcohol-based sanitizer are effective ways to prevent the spread of germs.
Contain your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth or nose when you sneeze or cough, and wash your hands after. To avoid contaminating your hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inner crook of your elbow.
Avoid crowds. By avoiding crowds during the peak of flu season, you may reduce your chances of infection and spreading to others. If you’re sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides to lessen your chance of infecting others.
If you do get the flu, remember these tips to help get over it quicker and avoid spreading it to others around you.
If you have flu symptoms and are at risk of complications, see your doctor right away.
Ann Bischel is a nurse practitioner in Express Care at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.