Colds & Flu
Colds and flu are caused by viruses. You can get a cold or flu virus from mucus on the hands of a person with the virus, such as through a handshake. You can pick up the viruses on towels, telephones, money, etc. Cold and flu viruses also travel through coughs and sneezes. Each year, 36,000 people die from pneumonia and other serious problems from the flu. This is especially true for persons who are age 65 or older, frail, and/or have:
Cold and flu viruses can be spread through hand shakes and touching objects that has an infected person’s mucus on them.
Self-care treats colds and most cases of the flu.
Prescribed antiviral medicines can make flu symptoms milder and help you get better sooner. The medicine needs to be started within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms.
Other medications to relieve symptoms may also be advised by your doctor.
Antibiotics do not treat cold and flu viruses. Antibiotics treat infections from bacteria. Taking them for viruses is a main cause of antibiotic resistance. With this, bacteria that were once fought off by antibiotics have become stronger than the medicine. Certain bacteria have become so resistant that it is hard to find an antibiotic that is able to fight off the infection.
Questions to Ask
With a cold, does a child have one or more of these problems?
Does an adult have any of these problems?
With or after the flu, do any of these symptoms of meningitis occur?
With or after the flu, do these signs of dehydration occur?
With a cold or the flu, do you have any of these problems?
Is a fever and/or other symptoms, like coughing, getting worse?
Do you have pain or swelling over your sinuses that gets worse when you bend over or move your head, especially with a fever of 101ºF or higher?
Have you had the flu or a cold for more than a week and not felt better with self-care? Or, do you have new symptoms?
Self-Care / Prevention
To Treat a Cold or the Flu
Take at least 20 seconds to wash your hands using soap and running water.
This is the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday”� twice.