Skip to content

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Flu Survival Kit: A Self-Care Kit for Your Home

Keep these medicines and remedies on hand in case the flu bug bites.
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Feature

If you're one of those people who brag, come flu season, that you "never, ever get sick," be aware: The odds may catch up to you. Every year, about 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get influenza, according to estimates from the CDC.

Taking certain antiviral drugs within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms can shorten the duration of the flu, but that involves recognizing you have the flu, getting in touch with your doctor, and going to the pharmacist before the 48 hours is up.

Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

How To Stay Well (When Everyone Else Is Sick)

By Janis Graham 'Tis the season...for colds, flu, stomach bugs, and all those other ills that spread when people come together — whether by choice (at holiday parties) or circumstance (on airplanes). But don't start calculating your sick days just yet. This year you can do more than wash your hands and cross your fingers. Recent research, some of it sparked by the scary H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, has uncovered new steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Most...

Read the How To Stay Well (When Everyone Else Is Sick) article > >

Just in case your number is up this year, consider assembling a simple home care kit for help in surviving the flu. If you are not only in denial but too busy to shop for a flu survival kit, take heart: it might just be an assembly job.  "Most of the supplies are routine medicines you have in your medicine cabinet anyway," says Jim King, MD, a family physician in Selmer, Tenn., and president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Here’s a short list from King and other flu experts of what you may need to treat the most common flu symptoms: fever, headache, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose. 

  • Fever and pain relievers
  • Cough syrups and drops
  • Nasal sprays
  • Decongestants
  • Thermometer
  • Fluids
  • Tissues

(Some caveats: Before giving any medicine to children; consult their pediatrician. Cold and cough syrups can be dangerous especially when given to children under 2 years old.  Adults with chronic problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease should check in with their doctor or pharmacist before taking any flu remedy, too.)

Fever and Pain Relievers for Flu Symptoms

What to Get: Choose ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol) or naproxen (Aleve), suggests Richard Roberts, MD, JD, a family physician in Belleville, Wis., and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

What They Do, How to Use Them: All three types of medicine help reduce fever and pain from muscle aches that can accompany flu. Most people under-dose themselves with these medicines, Roberts says. For generally healthy adults with flu, he suggests alternating Tylenol with either ibuprofen and naproxen throughout the day (but not alternating between ibuprofen and naproxen, since they work the same way.)

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
 
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
 
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
Slideshow
cold weather
VIDEO
 
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Article
Boy holding ear
Slideshow
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

woman receiving vaccine shot
Article
woman with fever
Article
 
Waking up from sleep
Article
woman with sore throat
Slideshow