Homecare Guidelines for Seasonal Influenza
What are the symptoms of seasonal influenza?
The symptoms of seasonal influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. Some people may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
- Keep away from others as much as possible to prevent spreading the virus. Do not go to work or school while ill.
- Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to seek medical care or for other necessities. (Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink clear fluids such as water, broth, and/or sports drinks (electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from becoming dehydrated.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Wear a facemask – if available and tolerable – when sharing common spaces with other household members to help prevent spreading the virus to others. This is especially important if other household members are at high risk for complications from influenza.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
If you have been given antiviral medication, finish as prescribed even if you feel better.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Care:
Seek medical care immediately if the sick person:
- Has difficulty breathing or chest pain
- Has purple or blue discoloration of the lips
- Is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
- Has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination
- Has seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)
- Is less responsive than normal or becomes confused
Seek medical care immediately if the child:
- Has fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Has bluish or gray skin color
- Is not drinking enough fluids
- Has severe or persistent vomiting
- Is not waking up or not interacting
- Is being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Has lack of tears when they cry
- Has seizures
Always seek medical advise or treatment for any other concerning conditions not specified above.
Information for patients who have been prescribed Tamiflu or Relenza
- Take medication as prescribed, even if you feel better before the infection is gone. Read the package insert or talk with your pharmacist to understand the side effects of the medication.
- Call your physician if symptoms do not improve.
- Stop taking the medication if you experience an allergic reaction and seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, a red blistering rash.
- Rare side effects may include sudden confusion, delirium, hallucinations, unusual behavior, thoughts of self injury, seizures, shortness of breath, trouble swallowing or wheezing.
- Less serious side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, nosebleed, eye redness, eye discomfort, insomnia or cough.
- Other medications that may interact with this medication may include other prescription medications, vitamins, minerals or herbal products. Please discuss with your pharmacist.
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Please call your physician’s office with questions. Additional information about influenza may be found at www.cdc.gov.