University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Influenza

Influenza Handout

What is the Flu?

•The flu is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus

•There is usually an abrupt onset

•Lasts about 7-10 days

 

What are the symptoms?

•Chills and fever (up to 103-104°F)

•Headache and pain around eyes

•Muscle aches all over and especially in the lower back

•Severe fatigue

•Dry, hacking cough

•Congested runny nose and sneezing

•Sore throat

 

How can I treat my symptoms?

•THE FLU IS A VIRAL INFECTION. Antibiotics will NOT cure the flu!

•Rest at home to recuperate and decrease spread to others

•Drink lots of fluids

•Avoid cigarettes, caffeine, and alcohol

•Medications include:

-Pain relievers: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen. NOTE: avoid aspirin. A rare but serious disorder called Reye’s syndrome is associated with the use of aspirin during the flu, especially for those under 18.

-Decongestants for stuffy nose, sinuses and ears

-Antihistamines for runny nose

-Cough suppressants

-Prescription flu medicines may prevent or decrease symptoms by about one day and are often not given to young healthy people

 

Seek medical attention if you have:

•Coughed up blood or thick pus-like mucus

•Severe or persistent abdominal pain

•Difficulty breathing or bad chest pain

•Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma or other lung diseases, heart or kidney diseases

 

How can I prevent the flu?

•Wash hands frequently during the flu season

•Practice good health habits such as proper rest, nutrition, hydration, and exercise to keep your whole body and immune system healthy

•Avoid crowds in flu season

•Get a flu shot each year, especially if you have the aforementioned chronic diseases, are over 55, or work in health care