What to Do If You Have the Flu

It may have started with a cough or a sneeze, or you may feel like someone beat you with a stick. Achy muscles, respiratory symptoms and a sudden fever all point to influenza and you – or your child – are down for the count. Here are five things you can do, and five that are probably a waste of time.

ANTIVIRALS: There are two prescription drugs on the market that work against influenza. Tamiflu is a pill, and Relenza is an inhaled powder, and both can cut about a day or two off the time spent in bed with flu. They can also keep patients from getting dangerously ill. Both must be taken within a day or so of when symptoms start to be effective.

ANALGESICS: Pain and fever relieving medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen – sold under brand names such as Motrin, Advil, Tylenol and others – can reduce fever and help with muscle aches. Patients with asthma, high blood pressure or other chronic conditions should check with a doctor before taking them. Children should never be given aspirin – it can cause a deadly reaction called Reyes Syndrome.

Excerpted from Today

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