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All You Need to Know About the Stomach Flu

The flu virus has arrived! This week we have had several patients calling and texting us with clear flu symptoms. We have even had patients come in and test positive with our nasal swab. Anyone that has had the flu knows that it can be very miserable.

So what do you do when you have the flu? I will breakdown the things that I recommend to my patients that have the flu. Really, the short answer is that there isn’t much we can do except for contain the spread of the vaccine and symptomatic treatment. Please, use these as a guideline. Please consult your doctor!

  1. Sharing is not caring - Please, please, please….do not share your illness! The flu virus specifically is spread through droplets. Meaning, that when someone sneezes, coughs or even talks that has been infected with the flu virus….you are susceptible to contract the virus. Someone that has been in contact with the flu can be contagious up to SEVEN DAYS!

    • Please stay home if you are sick. You don’t have to go to school. You don’t have to go to work. You don’t have to go to the store (Instacart, Prime Now, Etc.).

    • Please cover your cough! Droplets are spread through coughing, sneezing and talking. Please wear a mask (I like this one…looks nice and you can cover the cough for patient zero).

    • Wash your hands! - Sing “Happy Birthday” while you wash to make sure you kill off/wash off any virus that may be on your hands.

  2. Medications - There are some prescription medications now that can help to reduce the duration of the flu. These medications are most effective if started within 48 hours of symptom onset and the sooner the better! You can read more about it here. The medications are not for everyone….but it is an option.

    At our practice, here at Elevated Health, we can run these medications through your pharmacy and use your insurance benefits or these medications are rather inexpensive and dispensed from our office! (Tamiflu around $35, 5 day course. Xofluza is around $80-160, depending on weight, 1 day course)

  3. Elderberry - There have been some studies that this natural OTC supplement may be helpful (and unlikely to hurt) in helping relieve symptoms of the flu. It should be started within 48 hours of symptom onset. My wife recently purchased these gummies for herself and for my kids…and they tasted great!

  4. Rest, fluids, OTC meds - This is the best time to get some R&R. Water has been shown to be one fo the best mucolytics (works to break up the mucous). Your body needs lots of rest during this time! Pick up a good book (can I recommend this one…Not too expensive, quick read, and it explains our wonderful model of revolutionary healthcare)

  5. Vitamin C - There have been mixed studies about Vitamin C and the flu….Again, the way I see it, it may help…and it is unlikely to hurt.

If you have any concerns and something seems “out of the ordinary” (more information here) be sure to text or call your doctor (or find a practice like ours near your home here). With the widespread adoption of telemedicine, a lot of straightforward flu cases can be handled remotely.

Be well! The flu can be really nasty, just look at the flowchart doctors use to diagnose the flu. You may want to consider obtaining the flu vaccine for the following flu season. Most places have this available as early as September/October.