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Influenza, Ambulatory Care

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.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headaches, body aches, and muscle or joint pain
  • Cough, runny nose, and sore throat
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble breathing

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing or lips that look purple or blue
  • A seizure
  • New pain or pressure in your chest

Seek immediate care for the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Urinating less or not at all
  • A headache, stiff neck, and confusion

Treatment for influenza

may include any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Antivirals help fight a viral infection.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Rest as much as you can to help you recover.
  • Drink liquids as directed to help prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food. Use gel hand cleanser when there is no soap and water available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have washed your hands first.
    Handwashing
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Cough into a tissue or the bend of your arm.
  • Clean shared items with a germ-killing cleaner. Clean table surfaces, doorknobs, and light switches. Do not share towels, silverware, and dishes with people who are sick. Wash bed sheets, towels, silverware, and dishes with soap and water.
  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose if you are sick or are near anyone who is sick.
  • Stay away from others if you are sick.
  • Influenza vaccine helps prevent influenza (flu). Everyone older than 6 months should get a yearly influenza vaccine. Get the vaccine as soon as it is available, usually in October or November each year.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

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 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.

© 2015 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.

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