Tips on beating the flu
As people start sneezing and crumpled tissues pile up, St John has timely first aid tips if you, or someone with you, has influenza.
The flu is more than a bad cold. People with the flu feel very unwell, have a high fever, muscle aches and pains, a very sore throat (particularly in the beginning of the illness) and a cough. They do not usually have a runny nose or sneezing. Young children can also have diarrhoea and vomiting.
The best form of treatment is prevention. You can help prevent influenza by being immunised and by reducing the spread of influenza.
See your GP to discuss immunisation. Immunisation is free for people who: Are pregnant. Have asthma. Have chronic lung diseases. Have diabetes. Have cancer. Have heart disease. Have kidney disease. Are over 65 years.
Influenza is spread droplets. You can reduce spread by:
Staying at home and limiting close contact with other people.
Using disposable tissues not re-usable handkerchiefs.
Coughing into a tissue or your elbow, not your hand.
Washing and drying hands well.
Keeping surfaces touched by the person with the flu clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
In general, there are no magic treatments for the flu:
Specific anti-viral treatments (such as Tamiflu) reduce the severity and duration of symptoms if taken early. They are particularly helpful for people at high risk such as the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.
Paracetamol or ibuprofen may be taken according to the instructions on the packet for headache or muscle aches and pains. In general, the presence of a fever is helpful for patients with an infection and does not require treatment with by the
your paracetamol or ibuprofen unless it is very high
Do not give aspirin medication to children.
Use salt-water drops (saline) to treat a stuffy nose in young children.
Antibiotics will not help people who have the flu and will only be prescribed for people who have bacterial complications as a result of the flu, such as pneumonia or an ear infection.
Most people with the flu will recover at home without specific treatment. People should see their GP if they feel very unwell or have chronic health conditions. The flu can become life threatening. Call 111 and ask for an ambulance if the person with the flu is extremely unwell. For example if they: Have difficulty breathing or Are very drowsy or difficult to wake or Have a seizure Faint or Cannot walk unaided. For more first aid tips and to enrol in a first aid course go to www.stjohn.org.nz.