What to Do When It's the Flu?

Each year, up to 20% of Americans get the flu. In fact, the respiratory virus is the reason for more than 30 million doctor visits annually. It’s a highly infectious disease that’s easy to spread from person to person via sneezing and coughing, especially in the first few days of your illness. 

Here at the office of Shubi Shahida, MD, our team specializes in comprehensive care for acute illnesses. Dr. Shahida outlines some of the telltale symptoms of the flu and offers her best tips so you’ll know what to do when it strikes. 

Signs and symptoms that you have the flu

Though many of the symptoms of the flu can be similar to those of a cold, the flu comes on suddenly and includes:

If you’re experiencing several of these symptoms simultaneously, it’s likely that it’s the flu. Come in to our office in Smithfield, North Carolina, to confirm the diagnosis. 

Five things to do if you have the flu

Once you know you have the flu, you need a game plan. Here’s what to do.

Stay home and away from others

You probably won’t feel well enough to work or go to school, but in case you’re tempted, please don’t. Influenza is highly contagious. The best way to keep from spreading the sickness to others is to stay home or isolate yourself in a single room in your home.

Drink plenty of liquids

When you have a fever, it’s imperative that you drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Dr. Shahida suggests plain water, drinks with electrolytes, and chicken broth.


Rest is what your body needs right now, so take several naps throughout the week to 10 days of your illness.

Take pain relievers

The muscle aches, body pains, and headaches that accompany the flu are no joke. In some cases, they can be severe. Talk to our team about pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to see if they are right for you.

Ease your cough

Use an expectorant to break up the mucus that forms deep in your chest so you can cough it up and get it out. Similarly, a throat lozenge or cough drop can help soothe your aching throat and calm your crunchy cough. 

In the majority of the cases, flu runs its course in 7-14 days. But there are a few symptoms that may indicate you need emergency care, such as:

If you fear you have the flu, make an appointment with Dr. Shahida for an accurate diagnosis and compassionate care. Call now or book online.

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