“Since the holidays, we’ve seen an explosion in influenza throughout the country, and a large upsurge in patients hospitalized with influenza,” says William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease expert and member of the CDC’s national surveillance team. Hospitals are “bulging” with patients and unfortunately patients over 65 have been hit the hardest. Elderly patients tend to develop more serious influenza complications including pneumonia. If you suspect yourself or someone you know, especially the elderly, might have the flu, here are 5 tips you should follow:

  1. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR: If you think you may have the flu, call your doctor immediately. Familiar signs of the flu may include, but aren’t limited to fever, cough, sore throat, congestion, body aches, chills, headache and vomiting.
  2. TAKE TAMIFLU: Your doctor will possibly prescribe the antiviral called Tamiflu. When taken early into the illness, Tamiflu can lessen the severity of the flu. Some shortages of Tamiflu have been reported, but it is widely available in most states for now.
  3. CONTINUE FLUID INTAKE: Another serious complication of the flu (and fever) is dehydration, especially in the elderly. Try to avoid coffee and tea and drink up fruit juices, caffeine-free soda and of course water.
  4. STAY HOME: Except getting out to seek medical care or to pick up prescriptions, the CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the aid of fever-reducer such as Tylenol. If you do need to leave home, wear a face mask if possible. The flu is extremely contagious and you need to reduce the risk of spreading the germs to others.
  5. GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF AN EMERGENCY: If you have trouble breathing or you are coughing up green phlegm or blood, you must seek medical treatment immediately.


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The information found on the Gerstenberger Law site is for educational purposes only. Your situation and the situation of others are unique and more complex. This is neither legal advice nor to be considered legal advice. Contact us for advice about your specific situation.

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