Flu season is just about here. While people can get the flu year-round, most cases develop between October and February. Last year, few people got the flu because of COVID-19 safety protocols such as masking and hand-washing. Unfortunately, with relaxed safety measures, experts are predicting a steep increase in cases this season.
The best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu is to get a flu vaccine. However, if you do develop the flu, you’ll likely feel pretty sick. Common symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
Should you see your doctor if you think you have the flu? The experienced medical team at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, explains how to take care of your flu symptoms at home and when you should see your doctor for care.
Home remedies for common flu symptoms
Most flu symptoms last about a week. Regardless of which flu symptoms you have, you should get a lot of rest and drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration.
For fever, over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) can help ease body aches and bring your fever down. Cough medicines such as Robitussin or Delsym can help manage your cough, and antihistamines and decongestants can help clear up a congested nose. Always read the bottle to determine which medicine is appropriate for children.
Many flu symptoms such as fever, cough, and fatigue are similar to COVID-19 symptoms. In order to protect yourself and your community, if you experience these symptoms, you should get a COVID-19 test.
When to see your doctor
If your flu symptoms are severe, you should see your doctor to reduce your risk of developing a serious condition, like pneumonia, or severe medical complications. For example, if you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor.
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pains
- Stomach pains
- Severe vomiting
- Neck stiffness
If you are a high-risk individual, you should call your doctor at the first sign of the flu. High-risk individuals include people who:
- Are 65 years or older
- Have a chronic health condition such as diabetes or asthma
- Have a compromised immune system
- Are pregnant or two weeks or less postpartum
You should also see your doctor if your symptoms don’t subside after two weeks or if they return after you start feeling better.
Do you feel sick? Call Wasatch Peak Family Medicine for advice on how to take care of yourself and your family this cold and flu season. For your convenience, you can also use our online scheduler.