So you've caught the flu! Now what?

B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional
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You did everything right—got the flu shot, ate healthy meals and washed your hands religiously—and yet you still ended up with the flu.  Frustrating, right?  As I am writing this blog I am recovering from the flu and my teenager is home sick on day two of her flu journey.  It's pretty miserable but there are some things you can do to help shorten the duration of the flu, treat the symptoms and keep an eye on your asthma while you recover.

Ask your doctor about Tamiflu.
Tamiflu is an antiviral medication that can help to shorten the duration of the flu when you start taking it with in the first few days of the illness.  If you suspect that your symptoms are from the flu contact your physician.  They can schedule you to be tested and prescribe Tamiflu if it is needed.

Keep up with your regular asthma medications.
The flu can be very hard on people who have asthma.  Now that you are sick it is not the time to get forgetful about your asthma medications.  Set a timer or reminder in your phone to keep you on track.   Accidentally forgetting your daily medications can allow the flu to take an even greater toll on your lungs.

Keep an eye on your lung function.
If you or your asthmatic child have the flu, taking regular measurements with a Peak Flow Monitor can help you keep an eye on any potential breathing issues.  If you happen to have a Pulse Ox Monitor in your home it can also help to tell you how your lungs are functioning by measuring the amount of oxygen in the blood.  Talk with your physician about what readings are normal for you or your child and when to seek medical attention.

Keep a cold and flu kit on hand at home.
When the flu hits, it hits fast and hard.  It can be very helpful to have some of the over-the-counter medications and groceries you will need on hand.  These are some of the things you might want to consider putting in your cold and flu kit:

  • OTC cough medications as allowed by your physician
  • OTC fever reducers like Tylenol or Ibuprofen
  • Throat spray or cough drops
  • Kleenex
  • Easy things to eat and drink: Gatorade, Sprite, Jello, canned soups, chamomile tea or cider mix, etc.
  • Cleaning supplies: We like Clorox wipes and Anywhere Spray

The flu is rough but hopefully these ideas can help you get through it as painlessly as possible.  Stay well everyone!

J_ennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition.  She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years.  Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER). _

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