Fever, aches, cough, congestion, fatigue … we’ve all been there. The flu is, in a word, miserable.
The best prescription? Get your annual vaccination!
The best way to avoid the flu is to get your annual flu shot. Period. Today, it is easier than ever to get vaccinated — many local pharmacies offer flu shots, no appointment needed.
Be prepared …
There is nothing worse when you’re sick than having to trudge out to the pharmacy to pick up supplies. Stop in to your local Health Mart® now to stock up on these cold and flu essentials:
- Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen for reducing fevers and easing achiness
- A thermometer
- Cough syrup or cough drops
- Saline nose drops or sprays
- Drinks such as fruit juices or tea (avoid caffeine)
- Easy-to-eat foods such as clear soups, crackers or applesauce1,2
Sick? Keep it to yourself
The flu can spread easily from person to person, and you may be a carrier before you even show symptoms. The first day you have symptoms, you may be tempted to venture out to work or school. Don’t! This is when you’re most contagious.1 Wash your hands often, cover your cough and sneeze into your sleeve.2 In short, do your best to keep your germs to yourself!
Help, I feel awful!
You’re happy you took our advice and stocked up on cold and flu supplies before you got sick, aren’t you? If you’ve come down with the flu, the best thing you can do is hunker down and as your great-grandmother used to say, take to the bed. Here are a few tips to help to lessen your symptoms:
- Drink fluids, breathe steam. This is a great way to thin your mucus, making it easier to cough up. This may help prevent a lung infection. Using a humidifier (a cool mist) or breathing in steam from a hot shower may also help ease congestion.1
- Calm your cough. Coughing can be exhausting and keep you from much-needed sleep. Try over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines — an expectorant helps thin mucus. (Note: Do not give a child under age 4 any type of cough medicine.) Sucking on lozenges may also help your cough or scratchy throat.1
- Go easy on the nose. Just when you think you can’t possibly be more uncomfortable and miserable, your nose turns scaly and red from all the blowing. Try saline nose drops or sprays to ease nasal congestion by putting a few drops into one nostril and gently blowing the mucus and saline out. Repeat on the other side.1
- Treat other symptoms. Sure, a fever — along with chills and achiness — is a sign your body is fighting off the virus, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer through it. Talk to your Health Mart pharmacist about which fever reducer to take. An important reminder: Never give aspirin to someone younger than 19 — it can lead to a serious illness.1
- Get some rest. Sure, that report for work is important. And someone needs to make the kids dinner. And heaven knows no one is going to scoop the litterbox if you don’t. Power down the laptop, order the kids a pizza and bribe them to clean up after the cat — you need rest. Shut the bedroom door and nap, read or binge-watch your favorite television show — the kids (most likely!) won’t burn down the house while you recover.
Seek medical help
As soon as flu symptoms begin, call your doctor. If you take an antiviral within 48 hours of when symptoms begin, you have a fighting chance of reducing their impact.1,2 Even without antivirals, for most, the flu, while uncomfortable, is not life threatening. However, if you or a loved one develops any of these symptoms, call the doctor immediately:
- Dark urine
- Fever of 100 degrees F for three or more days
- Returning fever or sore throat after feeling better
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain or pressure
- Balance problems or confusion2
Talk to your pharmacist
If you need advice on alleviating the symptoms of the flu or have questions about vaccinations, talk to your Health Mart pharmacist. Visit www.healthmart.com/storelocator to find the Health Mart nearest you - look for the syringe icon to find the nearest flu shot provider!
Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.
- WebMD: “10 Tips to Ease Flu Symptoms.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/coping-with-flu#1 Accessed 8-31-17.
- Public Health: “Treatment of Flu.” Available at: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/flu/treatment/ Accessed 8-31-17.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
Posted on Mon, October 2, 2017
by Jana Spaulding