What to Do If You’re Getting the Flu

Here’s what you should take and do to minimize the risk to others.


From Consumer Reports

Over-the-counter meds like acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic) or ibuprofen (Advil and generic) can help fight your fever and headaches. For congestion, it’s best to start with a nasal drop or spray like oxymetazoline (Afrin, Neosynephrine Nighttime, and generic). After three days, switch to pseudoephedrine pills (Sudafed and generic), since taking the sprays longer than that can cause congestion. You’ll need to ask your pharmacist if you need pseudoephedrine, since it’s only sold behind-the-pharmacy-counter. And talk with a doctor first if you take any prescription medication or have anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or hyperthyroidism.

They also suggest getting a flu shot and a thermometer, watching for fast, hard-hitting symptoms (chills, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, cough, fatigue) and practice good hygiene to limit the risk to others: sneeze and cough into tissues, wash your hands, use separate dishware, that kind of stuff. Remember you’re contagious for up to a week, so stay home if you can.

Stacy Johnson

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