What to Do If You Have the Flu

This year, both strains of the flu virus are already widespread across country, including the Pittsburgh area. If you find yourself feeling under the weather and suspect that you have the flu, here’s what you can do at home to help you feel better more quickly.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your body when you have the flu is to get plenty of rest, even if that means taking some time off of work and cancelling plans. Remember that your body is trying to fight off the virus, so you don’t want to exert energy and weaken your immune system trying to stick to your normal routine when you’re sick.

2. Stay Hydrated

It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re recuperating from the flu. A fever, sweating, and runny nose can all cause your body to lose more water than normal and could contribute to dehydration. In addition to drinking plenty of fluids, you can also try to eat Jello or popsicles to help rehydrate your body.

Studies have shown that ginger can help to calm an upset stomach, which is why drinking ginger ale or ginger tea may help to relieve this symptom.

3. Treat Your Symptoms

Once you get the flu, there’s not much you can do to get rid of it, other than rest and wait it out. In the meantime, you can treat your symptoms to make yourself more comfortable. Tylenol or Advil can help to reduce fever and muscle aches, while antihistamines and decongestants can help with chest and sinus congestion. If you’re coughing, try a cough suppressant.

4. Stay Home

Although you might be tempted to try to go to work or run to the store, try to stay home until you’re feeling better. Not only do you need to rest, but you also don’t want to end up spreading the virus to others.

5. See a Doctor

You may need to see a doctor if you’re severely dehydrated or have a high fever. To tell if you are dehydrated, you can check your skin turgor, which is the amount of elasticity it has. To do this, pinch your skin, then check how long it takes to “snap” back into place. Skin with slow turgor could be a sign of dehydration.

If you have additional questions about how to take care of yourself with the flu or when to see a doctor, feel free to contact the community nurses at the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation, free of charge.