EOHU advises on what to do if you get the flu

SDG — Now that flu season has arrived, you may be wondering at what point you’ll have to seek medical attention if you get it.

When to stay home

Most people who get the flu are going to deal with symptoms such as a fever, cough, muscle aches, a sore throat and fatigue. While the combination of symptoms can make you feel very sick and last for well over a week, the best thing to do is to stay home and take care of yourself by getting some rest, drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for aches and fever.

Besides giving you a chance to recover, staying home will ensure you don’t get your coworkers sick. If your child or children are sick, keep them at home to help avoid spreading the flu at school. You (or your child) should stay home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours and are feeling better overall. Try to avoid giving family members the flu by washing your hands often, covering your coughs and sneezes with your arm instead of your hand, and staying two metres away from others. Once you’ve fully recovered, it’s a good idea to get the flu vaccine if you haven’t done so already. The vaccine is available from your healthcare provider, participating pharmacies or at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

When to seek medical attention

While being sick with the flu can be miserable, it usually isn’t an emergency. Resting at home is usually the best way to recover and avoid spreading it to others. However, if symptoms are severe and don’t improve after a few days, contact your healthcare provider. You can also call Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000), where trained health professionals can answer your questions by phone.

If you start experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, you should have someone take you to a hospital emergency department or call an ambulance:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lips turning blue
  • Extreme weakness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Confusion
  • Passing out

For more information on how to deal with the flu, call the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or at 1-800-267-7120. To reach Telehealth Ontario, call 1-866-797-0000.

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