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Home Care Guidance: Physician Directions to Patient/Parent

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. For updated information on the current flu season, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.

September 24, 2009, 10:30 AM ET

This document has been updated in accordance with the CDC Recommendations for the Amount of Time Persons with Influenza-Like Illness Should be Away from Others. This document provides interim guidance and will be updated as needed.

You will probably be sick for several days with fever and respiratory symptoms. 

Take Medications as Prescribed

  • Take all of the antiviral medication as directed.
  • Continue to cover your cough and wash your hands often, even when taking antiviral medications, to prevent spreading influenza to others.
  • Call the office if you (or your child) experience any side effects; i.e. nausea, vomiting, rash, or unusual behavior.
  • Take medications for symptom relief as needed for fever and pain such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, Nuprin ®), and cough medicine.  These medicines do not need to be taken regularly if your symptoms improve. 
  • Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or products that contain aspirin (e.g. bismuth subsalicylate – Pepto Bismol) to children or teenagers 18 years old or younger.
  • Children younger than 4 years of age should not be given over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a health care provider. 

Seek Emergency Care

If your child experiences any of the following:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Follow These Home Care Recommendations

  • Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Keep away from others as much as possible. This is to keep from making others sick.
  • Drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from being dehydrated.
  • Dishes can be done in dishwasher or with hot soapy water.
  • Throw away tissues and other disposable items used by the sick person in the trash. Wash your hands after touching used tissues and similar waste.
  • Have everyone in the household wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

For more detailed information about 2009 H1N1 home care, visit CDC's website or call 1-800-CDC-INFO

 
Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO
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