The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. In most cases, the flu produces mild illness that does not require medical care or antiviral drugs. Experts recommend these steps if you get the flu:

Stay at home and rest. Doing so will help your body fight the infection and prevent you from infecting others at work or school.


Avoid close contact with well people in your house so you won’t make them sick. Isolate your self in a separate bedroom. Do not share eating utensils, dishes, towels and other personal items.


Drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent fluid loss (dehydration). Avoid alcohol or drinks with caffeine such as colas, tea, and coffee.


Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and coughing. Throw the used tissue in the trash bin and wash your hands immediately. Handwashing is an effective way to prevent the spread of the flu and other common infections. You can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. The flu virus is spread via respiratory droplets from an infected person through coughing, talking and sneezing.


Treat flu symptoms with over-the-counter medicines such as pain and fever medications, cough medicines, nasal decongestants, throat lozenges, anti-diarrhea medications, and oral rehydration solution, among others. Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children (anyone aged 18 years and younger) who have flu or are suspected to have flu.


When to call a doctor

Certain people are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. These include:

  • Young children
  • People 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS

Individuals who belong in any of these high-risk groups should contact a doctor as soon as they develop flu symptoms.

When to go to the hospital

Persons who develop the emergency warning signs of flu sickness should go to the emergency room as soon as possible. Emergency warning signs of flu include:

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • Fever above 40°C
  • In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions


Shop at Watsons for anti-flu over-the-counter medicines and other essential healthcare products.


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