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Flu Season Preparation Comes Early
Date:8/31/2009

onclick="linkClick( this.href );" target="_blank" title="Treating Yourself at Home and Protecting Others">Treating Yourself at Home and Protecting Others
People with any of these symptoms can take a number of steps to get healthy and protect others from illness, including:
- Drink hot liquids to rehydrate, soothe a sore throat, and unplug a stuffy nose.
- Don't suppress coughs that bring up mucus.
- Don't consume dairy products for several days. These products make it hard for some people to cough up mucus.
- Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. Children and teenagers should stay away from aspirin. As always, people should check with their health care provider to make sure that these treatments are appropriate.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent those around you from getting sick. If a tissue isn't available, use the crook of your arm - NOT your hand.
- Stay home from work or school, and do not run errands.
- Ask for a mask when in the doctor's office or hospital.
- Get some rest!

"Before returning to work or other activities, people should make sure they are fever-free for at least 24 hours," recommends Dr. Hawkins.

Antiviral drugs, prescribed by a physician, can shorten the time that people are sick by one to two days and help to prevent serious flu complications. Because supplies are limited and can cause certain flu strains to become resistant, antiviral drugs are usually prescribed only to those who have severe flu-like symptoms, are considered high-risk for complications, or are allergic to the vaccination.

It is important to note that antiviral drugs are not a subsititute for vaccinations, and they work best if started within two days of symptoms. Speak to your doctor if you have questions about whether you or your family members need antiviral medication.

Prevention
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