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Coping With Flu: 9 Tips to Ease Symptoms

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Tip #7: Run the humidifier.

If the air is dry, a warm mist humidifier or vaporizer can moisten the air and help ease congestion and coughing. Be sure to keep the humidifier clean, however, to prevent the growth of bacteria and molds.

Tip #8: Try soothing lozenges.

Sucking on soothing lozenges will help to moisten and coat your scratchy throat and reduce the cough associated with flu.

Tip #9 Try saline (salt water) nasal drops.

Saline nose drops are available over-the-counter at any drug or grocery store and are effective, safe, and nonirritating, even for children. Put several drops into one nostril, and then gently blow the mucus and saline out of that nostril. Repeat the process in the opposite nostril until both are unblocked.

When Should I Call The Doctor About an Antiviral Flu Drug?

Flu drugs are taken at the onset of flu. These flu drugs may help decrease the severity and duration of flu symptoms.

The CDC recommends Relenza or Tamiflu. Relenza and Tamiflu are most effective when given within 48 hours of the onset of illness. These flu medications can decrease the duration of the flu by one day if used within this early time period. They are usually given for a period of about five days. They are also sometimes used to help prevent the flu in someone exposed to another person with the flu.

In addition, call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Earache or drainage from your ear
  • Pain in your face or forehead along with thick yellow or green mucus for more than a week
  • Any temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in an infant less than 3 months of age
  • Temperature higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit in older children or adults
  • Hoarseness, sore throat, or a cough that will not go away
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Persistent or worsening symptoms

Seek immediate medical help for any trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion, seizure, fainting, extreme fussiness or difficulty arousing.

 

What about taking an antibiotic? Would that relieve my symptoms?

Antibiotics only work against infections caused by bacteria. The flu is a viral infection, and antibiotics don't treat viruses.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 09, 2012
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