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Influenza (the flu) is an infection caused by the influenza virus. The flu is easily spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or has close contact with others. You may be able to spread the flu to others for 1 week or longer after signs or symptoms appear.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


The flu can cause serious or life-threatening health problems in some people. If left untreated, the flu can lead to dehydration. Being dehydrated can hurt your kidneys, heart, and brain. Asthma, lung disease, and heart disease may get worse when you have the flu. The flu can lead to ear, throat, and sinus infections. If you have a high fever, you may begin to have seizures. You may get lung infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis. You may get an infection in your blood, heart, or brain.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


You will need to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of germs to others. People near you should wear a mask, and they may also wear gloves, goggles, and a gown. People who enter your room should wash their hands before they leave the room.


  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever.

  • NSAIDs decrease pain and fever.

  • Bronchodilators may be given to help open your airways so you can breathe more easily.

  • Antivirals are given to fight an infection caused by a virus.


  • Oxygen may be given if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

  • A suction tube may be used to remove mucus from your nose or mouth. It may help you breathe more easily.

  • Nebulizer treatments may be used to give you medicine in the form of a mist. The mist is easy to breathe in. Nebulizer treatments are given through a mouthpiece or mask that is attached to the nebulizer machine.

  • A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is a tube put through an incision and into your windpipe.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Influenza (Inpatient Care)