The Flu. What’s new with Influenza 2020 in the Hudson Valley?
The newest kid on the flu block is Xofluza. Xofluza is like an antibiotic for the flu. It is a single dose medication with less of the nausea and stomach upset than Tamiflu, which is the anti flu medication we have used for years.
These medications can help the flu but only if they are taken in the first 48 hours of symptom onset. Especially the first 24 hours; if you come in before 24 hours has elapsed you have a decent chance of being helped by these medications.
If you think you have the flu, or have been exposed to the flu, see your doctor as soon as possible, or come into FirstCare for diagnosis, treatment or vaccination. No appointment is needed but now you can call ahead to get on line or ask for an appointment.
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, look for signs and symptoms of influenza, and possibly order a test that detects influenza viruses.
During times when influenza is widespread, you may not need to be tested for influenza. Your doctor may diagnose you based on your signs and symptoms.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest that you be tested for influenza. He or she may use various tests to diagnose influenza. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is becoming more common in many hospitals and labs. This test may be done while you’re in your doctor’s office or in the hospital. PCR testing is more sensitive than other tests and may be able to identify the influenza strain.
Usually, you’ll need nothing more than bed rest and plenty of fluids to treat the flu. But if you have severe infection or are at higher risk for complications, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu), or baloxavir (Xofluza). These drugs may shorten your illness by a day or so and help prevent serious complications.
Lifestyle and home remedies
If you do come down with the flu, these measures may help ease your symptoms:
Drink plenty of liquids. Choose water, juice and warm soups to prevent dehydration.
Rest. Get more sleep to help your immune system fight infection. You may need to change your activity level, depending on your symptoms.
Consider pain relievers. Use an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), to combat the achiness associated with influenza. Children and teens recovering from flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal condition.
To help control the spread of influenza in your community, stay home and keep sick children home until fever has been gone for 24 hours.
Parts of this post were written by the Mayo Clinic Staff