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Influenza-Like Illness

You were evaluated in the emergency department (ED), and we believe you have influenza (the flu). This diagnosis may have been made based upon a positive flu test or upon your symptoms alone. Influenza is a viral illness, which means that antibiotics do not treat it. The symptoms typically last several days to a week, although the cough may last for two to three weeks.

Steps to take at home:

  • Get lots of rest and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Cover your cough and wash your hands frequently to decrease your risk of infecting others.
  • Stay at home until your symptoms have resolved, especially if you are waiting for other test results such as for COVID-19.
  • You can take acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (eg, Motrin or Advil) for fevers or body aches.
  • Some doctors will prescribe an antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu). If taken within two days of your symptoms starting, this may help reduce symptoms by around 12 hours. The medication is not always recommended and only necessary under certain circumstances, such as a weakened immune system (eg, pregnant mothers or the elderly).
  • Follow up with your primary care doctor within two weeks if you have ongoing symptoms.

Please speak to your doctor or come back to the ED for new symptoms, such as severe headache, confusion, chest pain, difficulty breathing, vomiting to the point that you cannot drink fluids, or other new or worsening symptoms. Please review medication inserts for side effects and call the ED if you have any questions about the medications or care you received.

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