Anti-viral drugs within 24-48 hours of onset of symptoms
No vaccine available
Annual flu vaccine, anti-viral drugs may help
When should I call my healthcare provider?
A healthy young adult does not usually have to call a healthcare
provider at the first signs of a cold or the flu, but you should call in
You wish to receive an anti-viral medication to shorten the duration of flu symptoms
Your symptoms get worse
Your symptoms last a long time
After feeling a little better, you develop symptoms of a more
dangerous problem. Some of these signs include a sick-to-your stomach
feeling, vomiting, high fever, shaking chills, chest pain, coughing with
thick yellow-green mucus, stiff neck, sudden severe headache, rash.
Unexpected, even life-threatening complications can occur even in
healthy young adults with the flu. Do not hesitate to contact your
health care provider immediately if you experience a worsening of your
symptoms or develop new problems.
What self-care measures can I take if I do get sick?
A cold usually lasts only a couple of days to a week. Tiredness from
the flu may persist for several weeks. To feel better while you are
Drink plenty of fluids
Get lots of rest.
Use a humidifier to add extra moisture into the room air. (Be sure to clean the humidifier each time you add fresh water.)
Non-prescription over-the-counter cough or cold medicines may help
relieve symptoms. Make sure they contain only the ingredients that you
need to treat the symptoms you actually have. Take the medications only
as directed on the package. If you are unsure of which ones to purchase,
check with the pharmacist.
Pain reliever (analgesic), e.g. acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)*
* Do not give aspirin or other "salicylates" to children or
teenagers with symptoms of a cold or the flu. Children (age 17 or
younger) can die from a rare condition called Reye's Syndrome if they
take these medicines while they have these symptoms.
Antibiotics are not effective against cold or flu viruses. However,
they may be prescribed to treat the bacterial infections that can
develop as complications of the flu.
How is the flu virus spread?
The viruses that cause flu spread primarily from person to person,
especially by coughing or sneezing (via the airborne droplets of
respiratory fluids). Flu viruses can enter the body through the mucus
membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth. After a person has been infected
with the virus, symptoms usually appear within 2 to 4 days. The
infection is contagious for another 3 to 4 days after symptoms appear.
How can I avoid contracting or spreading flu and cold viruses?
If you smoke, STOP.
If you sneeze or cough, do it into a tissue and dispose of the tissue in a wastebasket.
WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS! Use
soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash frequently and
thoroughly for at least 15 seconds each time (2 choruses of "Twinkle,
Twinkle Little Star"). You can easily pick up or spread cold or flu
germs, even when shaking someone's hands or touching doorknobs.
Use a disinfectant cleanser to clean the surfaces you touch (telephone, keyboard, doorknobs, etc.).
Don't share eating or drinking utensils.
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. Eat a balanced diet, take a multi-vitamin, get adequate rest, avoid stress, exercise regularly.
GET AN ANNUAL FLU VACCINE, either the inactivated
influenza vaccine shot or the live attenuated influenza vaccine nasal
spray. It is recommended that you get the vaccine in October or
November, but you can receive it throughout the flu season.