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Caring for Someone Sick at Home

Treat Other Flu Symptoms

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.

December 5, 2009, 6:00 AM ET

Treating sore throat

Offer the person:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain
  • Ice chips or frozen ice pops to numb the throat and get fluids into the bodysick woman drinking tea

Some people find gargling with salt water helps soothe a sore throat.

  • Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Gargle and then spit out.

Treating chills, aches, and pain

Offer the person:

  • A light blanket for chills
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for aches and pain. Make sure to read the label for the right amount.

Treating congestion man taking medication

The flu can cause the body to make more mucous. The nose, sinuses, ears, and chest can get stuffy. This congestion can cause pain.

Offer the person:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain
  • Decongestants (Talk to your pharmacist about the kind you should buy. Do not give cough or cold medicine to children younger than 4 years of age.)
  • A humidifier. That's a machine that puts tiny drops of water (moisture) into the air. This extra moisture can make it easier for the sick person to breathe.
  • A warm washcloth on the face to ease sinus pain

Treating stomach problems

People with the flu may have stomach pain. They may even throw up or have loose stools (diarrhea). Anyone with severe stomach pain should call the doctor.

Offer the person:

  • Plain foods that are easy on the stomach
  • Clear liquids to drink
  • Medicines to help adults treat loose stools
 
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    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
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    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO
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