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What to do if you get the flu

What to do if you get the flu

“If you get the flu, the first thing you want to do is manage your symptoms,” says Susan Margletta, M.D., a primary care physician.

Flu symptoms include a sudden onset of:

  • Fever

  • Chills 

  • Sore throat

  • Cough 

  • Body aches 

  • Fatigue

  • Stuffy nose

Over-the-counter flu medications 

“The symptom that bothers patients the most is often the fever,” explains Dr. Margletta. “You can use over-the-counter fever reducers. They can also help your headache and body aches that are often severe with the flu.”

She also suggests over-the-counter cough suppressants to help manage your cough. 

Lifestyle modifications 

Besides treating your symptoms with medication, be sure to get plenty of rest and water. 

“If you really do have the flu, most likely, you’re not going to be able to go out because you’re going to feel too bad to go to work or school,” she says.

Limit the spread of germs

Do: Isolate yourself

Dr. Margletta suggests creating a “sick room” where you can sleep, eat and watch television. Maintaining a separate space away from others reduces the chance you’ll spread the flu to your family or roommates.

Don’t: Visit the ER

Unless your symptoms are severe, you should put off a trip to the emergency department.

“If you think you have the flu, don’t go to the emergency room,” she cautions. “The flu is typically an illness that you just have to wait out. Going to the emergency room is just going to infect a lot of other people.”

However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing serious complications that warrant a trip to the hospital:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing

  • Pain, pressure or heaviness on your chest

If your fever goes away, but then returns, you should make an appointment to see a doctor. 

“It could be a sign that something more serious, like pneumonia, has developed,” says Dr. Margletta. “You need to see a physician in that case.”

Get well soon!

Flu shots are available at Piedmont’s urgent care locations, primary care offices and Piedmont QuickCare at Walgreens locations.   

Dr. Margletta practices at Piedmont Physicians Hembree Road, located at 1357 Hembree Road, Suite 150,  Roswell, GA 30076. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Margletta or one of our other primary care providers. Save time, book online.

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