Influenza Care For Adults
How to care for adults with influenza
General self-care tips
- Drink extra fluids.
- Gargle with warm salt water. Mix together:
- One teaspoon (5 ml) of salt,
- One teaspoon (5 ml) of baking soda,
- Two cups (500 ml) of water. Mix well.
- Use throat lozenges.
- Use saline nose drops or sprays.
- Use a clean humidifier with the following conditions:
- Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for the use and proper care of your humidifier to reduce growth or spread of mold and bacteria that can grow in the water tank.
- Don’t smoke. Avoid second hand smoke.
- Talk to others about concerns and ask for help if needed. Keeping in touch by phone or email can help with feelings of loneliness when sick.
- Eat healthy foods. Find out more at HealthyU.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep.
Note: If the above suggestions do not work, review the guidelines for over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications.
Before using a product you should know:
- How to use it (e.g., how much to use and how often);
- How long to use it;
- The possible side effects; and
- When to seek medical attention.
Note: Over-the-counter medications treat symptoms only, and are not a cure for the illness. Call Health Link Alberta or speak with your health care provider if you have questions.
- Can decrease the length and severity of the illness;
- Must be started within 48 hours after the first symptoms appear in order to work;
- May be prescribed by physicians for treating influenza in people with severe illness or as prevention for those at risk of developing severe illness from influenza infection.
- Is not usually prescribed for influenza but your doctor may prescribe these medications for complications such as pneumonia.
Seek medical care if you or people in your care:
- Have heart or lung disease;
- Have any other chronic condition that requires regular medical attention;
- Have a weakened immune system;
- Are pregnant;
- Are frail;
- Are obese.
Seek emergency medical care if you, or someone in your care, have any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath while resting or doing very little;
- Difficult or painful breathing;
- Coughing up bloody sputum (spit);
- Increased wheezing;
- Chest pain;
- Fever for three or four days without improvement;
- Feeling better then suddenly having a high fever or becoming ill again;
- Extreme drowsiness and difficulty awakening;
- Disorientation or confusion;
- Severe earache;
- Sudden inability to function in a normally independent, elderly person;
- Constant vomiting or diarrhea, especially in an elderly person or young child.