This flu season is shaping up to be one of the most severe in years and was even elevated to epidemic level and about half of the country is experiencing flu activity. If you have been diagnosed with the flu, according to Flu.gov, you should stay home and follow your health care provider’s recommendations. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about over-the-counter and prescription medications to ease flu symptoms and help you feel better faster.
Treating the flu without medication
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink clear fluids like water, broth, sports drinks or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated
- Place a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever
- Put a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier
- Gargle salt water (1:1 ratio warm water to salt) to soothe a sore throat
- Cover up with a warm blanket to calm chills
Decongestants can ease discomfort from stuffy noses, sinuses, ears and chests. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about which kind is right for you.
Treating coughing and sore throat
Cough medicine, cough drops and throat lozenges can temporarily relieve coughing and sore throat. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about which kind is right for you.
Reducing fevers and discomfort
Fevers and aches can be treated with a pain reliever such as Tylenol, ibuprofen or nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like Aleve. If you have kidney disease or stomach problems, check with your health care providers before taking any NSAIDS.
Mixing flu meds with over-the-counter drugs
Many over-the-counter medications contain the same active ingredients. If you take several medicines with the same active ingredient, you might be over-doing it. This can cause serious health problems. Make sure to be thorough and read all labels carefully. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription medications not related to the flu, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about which cold and flu medications are safe for you.