The Flu - Home Treatment
Treatment Of Common Flu Symptoms
Caring for a flu patient, or yourself is something everyone is capable of doing. The basic goals are to keep the patient clean, dry, warm, and well hydrated. Patients need a soft place to lie down, be comforted, told that they are going to be OK, and reassured that you will be there for them.
The most important medical treatment is to make sure they have plenty of fluids. Dehydration must be prevented because it can quickly lead to death or contribute to stroke or heart attack. Keeping the patient hydrated is the best treatment for the flu and the one that is most likely to save lives.
The same treatment advice applies to other viral and bacterial illnesses that might be confused with influenza. So, don’t worry so much about whether or not you have made the correct diagnosis or not. The treatment will be about the same anyway.
Treatment Of Adults Fever The first consideration when treating a patient with fever is fluid therapy. It is very difficult to bring a fever down in a patient low on fluids. Both ibuprofen and acetaminophen are good ways to lower fever and help the patient feel better. The therapeutic dose of ibuprofen for adults is 2 to 4 tablets (400mg to 800mg) every four to six hours as needed. For acetaminophen, the dose is two 500mg tablets up to four times daily as needed. Try one or the other at the dose recommended. Wait 45 minutes. If the response is insufficient, add a full dose of the other drug. In adults, acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used in full doses at the same time, because they are in different drug classes and have different drug side effects. Combination treatment with both has an additive effect of benefit without increasing risk. Do not exceed these doses for either drug. This is the maximum for both.
Acetaminophen is a very safe drug as long as you do not exceed the daily dose limit for it. Many cold and flu preparations sold in drug stores include acetaminophen or ibuprofen along with antihistamines and or decongestants. These are fine to use for flu. Just remember to include the dose of acetaminophen and ibuprofen found in these drugs in your daily limit calculation to avoid exceeding it for any of the drugs listed.
A high fever (103°F) is hard on the patient, but most folks can tolerate it well. A fever above 104°F is the upper safe limit for most people and anything above 105°F is a temperature emergency. Fevers this high can cause seizures and above this point brain damage can develop if prolonged. This must be avoided. The mainstays of therapy are keeping the patient well hydrated, tepid water sponge baths, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and dressing the patient lightly. If the fever resists these techniques, sponge bathe the patient with cool water and fan the patient to increase the cooling effect of evaporation from the skin. As a last resort, if you have access to either ice or snow, make cold packs and place them under each arm, on the right and left sides of the groin, and around the neck. These cold packs cool the blood passing under them helping to reduce the patient’s temperature.
Chills And Body Aches cause shivering and are often associated with body aches and later fever. Treat chills by keeping the patient warm; give them an extra blanket or a hot water bottle. Body aches respond to acetaminophen, and ibuprofen used separately or together.
Respiratory Conditions, Headache And Cough Gargling with a hot salt and soda water solution is a good treatment for sore throat. To make this treatment, add 1 tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of baking soda to a cup of hot but not scalding water. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen used in full doses either individually or together if needed have good pain relieving effects.
Nasal, sinus and ear congestion and pain respond to hot packs placed on the face and by inhaling steamy air. Use of a salt and soda saline solution to wash the sinuses helps remove mucus and inflammatory chemicals that build up in the area and is very useful. The solution is made by adding ¼ level teaspoon of table salt plus ¼ level teaspoon of baking soda to 1-cup of clean water. Instill the solution into the nose with an ear bulb syringe or by other means and gently blow your nose. Repeat this process until the nasal passage is clear. Nasal washing can be repeated as often as needed. Antihistamines and decongestants are also useful for treatment of this condition. The salt and soda saline solution makes an excellent non-burning eye wash too. It is a great way to provide a comforting bath to sore runny eyes and lids. Inhaling steamy air is a time-honored therapy for chest, sinus, ear and throat infections. The easiest way to create steam is by heating water in a teakettle or a pot. Once the water is boiling, drape a towel over your head and bend over near but not too close to the steam. Inhale the steamy air through the nose and mouth getting it deep into the lungs.
The health of the patient is unaffected if the phlegm brought up with a wet cough is swallowed or deposited in a handkerchief. Hydrating the patient with the ORS, feeding them a hot or cold caffeine-containing beverage like tea, coffee, or cola, or eating chocolate encourages a wet cough.