Influenza in adults
What is it?
Influenza (in-floo-EN-za) or "flu" is an infection (in-FEK-shun) that affects your nose, throat, windpipe, lungs, and muscles. It is most common in fall and winter. It is easily spread to others. You can get the flu one to four days after being around people who have it. People with the flu usually feel better in seven to ten days.
Flu is caused by a virus (germ) and is spread to others by coughing, sneezing, and even talking. There are many different viruses that cause the flu each year. Most types of flu can be prevented by a flu shot. A flu shot is a vaccine (vak-SEEN). A vaccine is medicine that may keep you from getting the flu virus.
Signs and Symptoms:
You may have chills, fever (high body temperature), body aches, cough, sore throat, or headaches. You may vomit (throw up) and have diarrhea (loose, watery BMs). Other signs may be runny nose, earache, and red, watery, and sore eyes. You may also feel very tired and have muscle or joint pain.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Exercise 3 to 4 times a week. If you smoke, you should quit. Limit how much alcohol you drink. Learn to control stress. Try to stay away from those who have the flu. Always wash your hands after using the toilet.
There is no cure for the flu. You should rest and drink 6 to 8 glasses (soda pop can size) of liquids each day. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for body aches and fever. Do not take aspirin. You may need cough medicine. Stay away from others to keep from spreading the flu. If you are over 65 or have other diseases, you may want to get a flu shot next fall.
Herbs and Supplements:
Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.
Other ways of treating your symptoms:
Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.
Talk to your caregiver if:
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF :
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
1. Cohen S, Doyle WJ & Skoner DP: Psychological stress, cytokine production, and severity of upper respiratory illness. Psychosom Med 1999; 61(2):175-180.
2. Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D'Adhemar D et al: A controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes. Br J Clin Pharmacology 1989; 27:329-335.
3. Lindenmuth GF & Lindenmuth EB: The efficacy of Echinacea compound herbal tea preparation on the severity and duration of upper respiratory and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Alt Compl Med 2000; 6(4):327-333.
5. Sanchez A, Reeser JL, Lau HS et al: Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Am J Clin Nutr 1973; 26:1180-1184.
6. Turner Cobb JM & Steptoe A: Psychosocial influences on upper respiratory infectious illness in children. J Psychosom Res 1998; 45(4):319-330.
Last Updated: 6/13/2013
Copyright © 1984- Thomson Micromedex. All rights reserved.