Which Medicine is Best for Fighting the Flu this Season?
Everyone has their own sworn-by remedies that help them overcome sickness. With flu season still active, backup medicines to control symptoms may come in handy.
Britt McRae, director of student health services, said the flu season on campus is typical for a non-epidemic season.
The Georgia Department of Public Health says this season in Georgia is worse than usual. Clinic visits for influenza-like-illness are 6.9%, up from the regional baseline of 2.4%.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent catching the flu is still a vaccine. However, accessible medicines like guaifenesin, dextromethorphan, phenylephrine and acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease symptoms if a student is sick.
McRae said those medicines help to thin mucus, control cough, relieve congestion and control pain or fever, respectively.
However, McRae said these medications only control the symptoms and do not make them go away. That will only happen after about seven days.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t really have much of a routine for when I get sick,” said Dakota Lee Snow, a sophomore music major. “I guess it’s more just waiting it out because I don’t want to pay to just get mildly better.”
When he is sick and away from home, Snow said 50 milligrams of Children’s Benadryl helps him sleep and feel better by morning.
“I know it’s mostly for allergies, but also I feel like it works sort of more than just for that,” Snow said.
Like a cold, the flu is caused by a virus. The CDC says the flu virus disseminates through respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing, or talking. Flu viruses may also be encountered by someone touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their mouth or nose.
Once someone has been infected by a flu virus, the immune system responds with inflammation. The CDC says this inflammation triggers the cough, sore throat, fever and body aches associated with the flu.
To optimize prevention, McRae says everyone should receive annual flu vaccines, practice vigilant hand washing, cover coughs or sneezes, and avoid touching their face while out and about.
Because the flu is contagious, someone may still get the flu. McRae says to limit social activities, work and classes until you are fever and cough free for 24 hours. This helps to prevent spreading the flu to others.
According to the CDC, most people will have a mild illness and will not need medical care or antiviral drugs. In this case, McRae says rest and fluids are key to recovering.
It is best to get vaccinated as soon as possible and it is not too late to get a flu shot, according to the CDC. Their weekly influenza surveillance report, Fluview, indicates flu activity has declined but still remains high.
Students worried they may have the flu can visit Student Health Services on West Campus. The clinic is open Monday through Friday between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Students are required to make an appointment and a Bobcat ID card is necessary to access the building.