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You Have The Flu, Now What?


Reviewed by: Amy Surdam and Amy Hinshaw

The flu is a common illness that affects approximately 8% of the United States population annually. While we have vaccinations against the flu, getting sick is still possible, and not everyone gets vaccinated each year. 

If you’ve ever had the flu, you know how much of a headache it can be, even if you have a mild case. If you get sick this year, it’s best to learn how to recover quickly from the flu. Keep reading to learn more about flu symptoms, home remedies and treatment options.

Signs You’re Getting the Flu

In many cases, when someone develops the flu, the symptoms can appear suddenly. You can look out for the signs of the flu to help catch it early and prevent more severe infection. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Sore throat and coughing
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Aches

While a fever is a common flu symptom, not everyone will experience it. Some people may also experience nausea and vomiting, but this symptom is more common among children. Most people who get the illness can experience relief from the flu after three to seven days. Still, some symptoms can persist longer, such as cough or fatigue, particularly in individuals with lung conditions.

What to Do if You Have the Flu

When you get the flu, there are flu remedies you can try at home to help you find relief. Some methods you can try include:

  • Isolating from others: The flu is contagious, so you’ll want to stay home and away from work or school for the first few days you start to experience symptoms. If you have to go out, you can wear a mask to help prevent the spread of the flu, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly. 
  • Resting at home: Rest is essential to healing, so you want to spend plenty of time sleeping and relaxing. Since you’re already going to be taking time off work and school, spend time relaxing in bed or on the couch reading, sleeping or watching a movie. Sleep and rest will help your immune system fight the flu, helping you get back to peak health as soon as possible.
  • Drinking plenty of water: Staying hydrated helps your body heal, so you’ll want to drink a lot of water, sports drinks, juice or broth soups to give your body everything it needs to heal. Symptoms of the flu include sweating and a runny nose, which can cause you to become dehydrated if you don’t keep up with your fluid consumption.
  • Taking medications: Over-the-counter medications can help treat inflammation and fevers, reducing your body temperature and body aches. Taking medications can help you target your symptoms and recover from the flu sooner.
  • Running a humidifier: Coughing and congestion are two common symptoms of the flu, and a humidifier can help you find relief. Humidifiers are also good if the air in your home is dry, but it’s essential to clean it regularly and not use a warm mist to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
  • Taking a hot shower: If you’re experiencing congestion or a runny nose, a hot shower can help you find relief. The steam can help relieve your stuffed nose, and the heat can help you relax, reducing the body’s aches and pains.
  • Trying lozenges: If you have a sore throat and a cough, you can slowly dissolve a lozenge in your mouth to find relief. They even have numbing lozenges to help provide extra relief.

How to Care for Someone With the Flu

If you don’t have the flu, but someone in your family does, there are a few ways that you can take care of them while preventing yourself from getting sick:

1. Wash Your Hands Regularly

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the flu, especially if someone in your home has the illness. Handwashing can prevent 20% of respiratory diseases, so you’ll want to wash your hands while caring for someone with the flu or use hand sanitizer to kill infectious germs.

2. Place Your Child’s Chin on Your Shoulder

If your child contracts the flu, it’s natural to want to take care of them, but you don’t want to get sick yourself. One way you can prevent contracting the flu is by placing your child’s chin on your shoulder when you hold them so they don’t cough around your face. Wearing a mask will also help when you have to hold them.

3. Prevent Direct Contact

Preventing face-to-face contact or wearing a mask can significantly reduce your risk of getting sick while helping your loved one recover. These precautions will prevent you from contracting the flu so you can still effectively care for your loved one while they’re sick.

When to Seek Treatment for the Flu

Many experience mild symptoms that dissipate over a few days as their body heals. Still, some people should seek treatment, especially if they’re at a higher risk for flu-related complications. These individuals include pregnant women, individuals over 65 and people with specific health conditions. Children and adults also have different thresholds for when they should seek treatment.

You should take your child in for treatment if they exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Chest pain
  • Consistently high fevers over 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Severe aches
  • Bluish face or lips
  • Seizures
  • Worsening health conditions
  • Difficulty staying alert or interacting while conscious
  • Fever, in the case of infants under 12 weeks old
  • Seizures
  • Worsening coughs

Adults will have a different experience with the flu and should look out for these symptoms to determine if they need to seek medical treatment:

  • Severe muscle pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Difficulty maintaining consciousness
  • Confusion or dizziness that won’t go away
  • Seizures
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pressure or pain in the abdomen that won’t let up
  • Worsening coughs and fevers
  • Extreme weakness or lack of balance
  • Worsening health conditions

When Should I Go to Urgent Care for the Flu?

Some emergency flu symptoms constitute visiting the ER, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain and confusion. If you’re one of the people at risk for developing emergency flu symptoms, such as people over 65 or pregnant women, then you can also go to the ER for treatment.

Other individuals can go to urgent care for the flu to find relief. An urgent care can provide treatment and medication to help you find relief for common flu symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, sore throats, congestion and coughing. Urgent care can test for the flu to confirm if you have it or another illness that presents with similar symptoms. 

Seek Treatment for the Flu at Coastal Urgent Care

Catching the flu can be inconvenient at best and uncomfortable if you develop numerous symptoms, such as a fever, headache, congestion or chills. There are many ways that you can tackle the flu head-on so you can feel better as quickly as possible. 

Coastal Urgent Care can help you find relief from your symptoms. We treat patients of all ages, and our expert team can help you start the road to recovery while providing excellent customer service. Find a clinic near you for treatment or to get your yearly flu shot!