Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” can make you feel miserable and can even be downright dangerous. Quickly getting the best flu treatment available can make all the difference in how severe your flu symptoms become and how quickly you recover. Here’s what you need to know…
The 2018-19 Flu Season Is In Full Swing
As of January 19 there were more than 27,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu so far this season across the three states we service – Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York – and the incidence of flu is expected to increase in the coming weeks. 1
The best treatment for flu is antiviral medication like Tamiflu, but for these medicines to be most effective you need to be evaluated and treated at the first signs of flu – and it’s not appropriate for everyone.
Because influenza is caused by a virus and not bacteria, antibiotics are not an effective treatment for the flu, or flu-like viruses. There are, however, antiviral medications that can be effective in fighting off the virus that causes the flu, so that your symptoms will be less severe and won’t last as long. The catch to these medicines is that they work best when taken within two days after the start of symptoms.
It’s also important to note that the very young and the very old, as well as people who have certain conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, other chronic ailments or are immune-compromised should not be treated with Tamiflu. Regardless, it’s important to see a doctor right away if you think you may be coming down with the flu so that you can be treated appropriately and monitored for any complications.
In addition to the care provided by a provider, there are other treatments and home remedies for flu that you can try to help relieve some of the symptoms of flu.
These treatments include over the counter nasal decongestants and antihistamines, treating the cough with a mucous thinner and cough suppressant like Mucinex DM, and fighting aches and fever with ibuprofen or Tylenol. The providers at PhysicianOne Urgent Care can prescribe stronger cough medications if needed. Multi-symptom medications may have more medication than is needed to treat your symptoms, so again, it is important to be evaluated. However, these will not help you to get over the flu more quickly the way that an antiviral medication can (if your provider deems anti-viral medication is appropriate) and they are also not as effective at reducing the overall severity of symptoms.
If you start to experience these early flu symptoms, see a doctor right away:
Not only can professional medical care help you to feel better faster, it can also help to ensure that complications from the flu can be treated immediately if they develop. Serious complications that can develop from the flu include pneumonia, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and organ failure. Other less serious but significant complications are sinus infections, ear infections and dehydration.
Early signs of flu include:
- Fever or feeling feverish and having chills (not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (feeling tired)
While many of these symptoms may also be experienced with the common cold, if they come on suddenly and feel more severe than a cold, it may be the flu. You should see a doctor right away so that you can be tested and, if appropriate, treated with an antiviral medication. At PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers we offer walk-in care for the flu seven days per week. You can find a location and check in online here for fast flu treatment.
Remember that prevention is the best medicine.
While treatment for the flu is available, it’s best for your health, your schedule and your wallet to do all you can to avoid getting the flu in the first place. And that means getting an annual flu shot. It’s not too late to get a flu shot, even into February and March when flu season can be at its peak. PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers also offers the flu vaccine and other immunizations on a walk-in basis.