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Flu Discharge Instructions, Adult

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Subject: Flu Discharge Instructions, Adult

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About this topic

Influenza, or flu, is an infection caused by the influenza virus. It affects your throat, breathing tube, and lungs (the respiratory system). It spreads from a person who is sick to some other person from close contact. Flu may cause: 
  • Fever over 100.4°F (38°C)

  • Chills

  • Body aches

  • Headache

  • Cough

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Sore throat

  • Tiredness

  • Throwing up

Image(s)

This is an image of a woman surrounded by the signs of dehydration. They include sunken eyes, cracked lips, dry skin and mouth, feeling faint or passing out, lack of energy, dark colored urine, or very little urine.

This is an image of a woman surrounded by the signs of dehydration. They include sunken eyes, cracked lips, dry skin and mouth, feeling faint or passing out, lack of energy, dark colored urine, or very little urine.

 

This is an image of a man coughing or sneezing into his elbow in order to prevent the spread of germs.

This is an image of a man coughing or sneezing into his elbow in order to prevent the spread of germs.

This series of images show the steps of an adult doing good hand washing. They include wetting the hands, lathering up with soap, scrubbing for 20 seconds, rinsing for 10 seconds, using a towel to dry the hands, and then turning off the faucet with the towel.

This series of images show the steps of an adult doing good hand washing. They include wetting the hands, lathering up with soap, scrubbing for 20 seconds, rinsing for 10 seconds, using a towel to dry the hands, and then turning off the faucet with the towel.

 

This series of images show the steps of an adult using a hand sanitizer. They include putting sanitizer on the hands and rubbing them together, including the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and nail beds until all the sanitizer is gone.

This series of images show the steps of an adult using a hand sanitizer. They include putting sanitizer on the hands and rubbing them together, including the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and nail beds until all the sanitizer is gone.

 

What care is needed at home?

  • Ask your doctor what you need to do when you go home. Make sure you ask questions if you do not understand what the doctor says. This way you will know what you need to do.

  • Drink lots of fluids, such as water, broth, sports drinks, and tea. This will keep your fluid levels up.

  • You need to rest while you are getting better.

  • Get enough sleep. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.

  • Use a machine that makes steam like a vaporizer or humidifier. It may help open up a clogged nose so you can breathe easier.

What follow-up care is needed?

Your doctor may ask you to make visits to the office to check on your progress. Be sure to keep these visits. 

What drugs may be needed?

The doctor may order drugs to: 
  • Control coughing

  • Lower fever and pain:

    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)

    • Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, and Nuprin)

Will physical activity be limited?

You need to rest while you are getting better. This means you may need to limit your activity until you feel well. 

What changes to diet are needed?

Eat food that will not upset your stomach such as: 
  • Chicken soup

  • Bananas

  • Rice

  • Apples

  • Toast

What problems could happen?

  • Pneumonia

  • Too much fluid loss. This is called dehydration.

  • Infection

  • Worsening of heart and lung problems

What can be done to prevent this health problem?

  • Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes, and mouth. The virus most often enters the body through these parts.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers also work to kill the virus.

  • Do not get too close (kissing, hugging) to people who are sick.

  • Do not share towels or hankies with anyone who is sick.

  • Do not share cups, food, drinks, or silverware with anyone who is sick.

  • Stay away from crowded places.

  • Get a flu shot each year.

To keep from spreading germs in the house or other places: 
  • If you are sick, stay at home. Stay in a separate room if possible. You may spread the flu from the day before you have signs and up to 7 days after you get sick. You may return to work after the fever is gone for 24 hours without the use of drugs to lower your fever.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze. You can also cough into your elbow. Throw away tissues in the trash and wash your hands after touching used tissues.

  • Keep your house clean by wiping down counters, sinks, faucets, doorknobs, telephones, remotes, and light switches with a cleaner with bleach. Wash dishes in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water. The flu virus can live on solid surfaces for 24 hours.

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Fever or cough returns or gets worse

  • Chest pain with deep breathing

  • Confusion or sudden dizziness

  • Very bad throwing up or throwing up that does not stop

  • Trouble breathing

  • Passing less urine

  • You are not feeling better in 2 to 3 days or you are feeling worse

Teach Back: Helping You Understand

The Teach Back Method helps you understand the information we are giving you. The idea is simple. After talking with the staff, tell them in your own words what you were just told. This helps to make sure the staff has covered each thing clearly. It also helps to explain things that may have been a bit confusing. Before going home, make sure you are able to do these: 
  • I can tell you about my condition.

  • I can tell you what I can do to help keep my fluid levels up.

  • I can tell you what I will do to keep others from getting sick.

  • I can tell you what I will do if I have chest pain with deep breathing, trouble breathing, passing less urine, or very bad throwing up.

Where can I learn more?

Canadian Lung Association 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Last Reviewed Date

2015-04-09 

List_set bdysylist

  • Adult

  • Respiratory

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about conditions, illnesses, injuries, tests, procedures, treatments, therapies, discharge instructions or life-style choices that may apply to you. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you. 

Copyright

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved. 
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