Iowa Specialty Hospital

Influenza and Guidelines For Treatment

December 22, 2022

Have you or a loved one come down with fatigue, cough, fevers, sore throat and body aches? You are likely dealing with influenza. We have seen a large volume of influenza A cases come through our clinics and ER here at Iowa Specialty hospital. You aren’t alone.  Below are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding viral illnesses. These apply to both adults and children.


Frequently Asked Questions About The Flu:

How long will I have symptoms?

Usually, 5-7 days is what we are seeing before you may start to feel better.


My child or I have a fever. What do I do?

Child - Give your child weight-appropriate Tylenol. You can do this every 6 hours as needed for the fever and aches. If your child is older than 6 months, you can also try ibuprofen alternating with Tylenol.


Adult - Standard dosing for adults is Ibuprofen 600 MG every 6 hours and Tylenol 1,000 MG every 6 hours.


FUN FACT!  You can rotate these for maximum efficiency in keeping your fever, chills, and body aches at bay!  You can take one every 3 hours.
For example:

Tylenol at 12:00pm
Ibuprofen at 3:00pm
Tylenol at 6:00pm
Ibuprofen at 9:00pm
        *This is what they would do at the hospital/ER, but you can do it at home - Tylenol and Ibuprofen are commonly used to treat flu symptoms.


My cough is hanging around. Do I have pneumonia?

It is normal for a cough to hang around for up to 6 weeks after a viral illness. Your lungs are healing. You can use over the counter cough medications like Delsym or Robitussin to help relieve coughing, or you can try Mucinex to help make the cough more productive.  Make sure to check the “ACTIVE INGREDIENTS” on the back of the bottle of any cold medicine, flu medicine or cough syrup. These typically have acetaminophen in them as well, so you want to make sure to limit your total dose for a 24-hour period. It must be less than 4,000 MG for a healthy adult, and less than 2,000 MG for an adult with any liver issues.


I can’t get the fever to come down.

We don’t necessarily expect the fever to return to normal during a viral illness. As long as the temperature decreases to around 100-101 with treatment, this is OK.


Why can’t we have an antibiotic?

Antibiotics are NOT helpful in a viral illness. An antibiotic treats bacteria like strep throat or pneumonia and sometimes an ear infection. COVID, Influenza and RSV are viral and need to run their course.


Why won’t my child eat?

This is normal. Your child doesn’t feel well. We encourage you to keep them hydrated with water, Gatorade, or Pedialyte, which is most important. Continue to offer food and snacks, but they just may not eat a lot. This is OK!


Stay hydrated.

Drink Gatorade, WATER, protein drinks, emphasis on the water, though. Try to drink 5-6 bottles per day of water alone. If you go to the ER, they’ll likely give you fluids if you look dehydrated. It’s much more pleasurable to take by mouth than attempting to get an IV when you’re dehydrated. This is the key in keeping you out of the hospital.


Use a Bulb Syringe or Nasal Aspirator to clear nasal ways.

Noses are our airway; it is best to keep them clear if possible. The little ones may not like it, but it really does help them feel better.


Can I take Tamiflu to help me if I have the flu?

Tamiflu is not recommended greater than 48 hours after onset of symptoms. Most people don’t love Tamiflu regardless of onset of symptoms. It has side effects such as diarrhea and nausea/vomiting. Since the key to recovery is going to be hydration, that’s kind of counterintuitive. Tamiflu is an antiviral that may lessen the symptom severity by a short duration. Please talk to your provider if you are interested in this medication.


When should I go to the ER?

-If your child is hard to wake up

-If your child has not had a wet diaper in 8-12 hours

-If your child appears to be having trouble breathing

-If you are having difficulty breathing, chest pain, shortness of breath, significantly decreased urinary output

      * If you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should get checked out.


What are signs of pneumonia?

Return of fever, worsening cough, labored breathing.


When can I go back to work or my child go back to school/daycare?

Typically, you need to be fever free for 24 hours, (that is without the use of Tylenol or ibuprofen), and at least 72 hours from the start of symptoms and all symptoms improving. However, symptoms can linger for 1-2 weeks depending on severity of illness.

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