Don't wait until your temperature is 102 to realize that you're out of ibuprofen or it's expired. Stash away these essentials now, in an emergency flu kit.
: Seek emergency medical attention for a child with a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours and is unresponsive or sluggish. Adults should seek emergency care if they have difficulty breathing, persistent vomiting, or sudden dizziness or confusion.
Step 1: Have a thermometer Put a thermometer into your emergency flu kit. One sign that you have the flu is a high fever.
Step 2: Sock away some ibuprofen Sock away some ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lower your temperature and relieve muscle aches.
TIP: Aspirin is not the first choice for fever reduction: it may be toxic in large doses in adults and may cause Reye’s syndrome -- a rare but serious condition -- in children and teenagers.
Step 3: Tuck in a decongestant Tuck a decongestant into your emergency flu kit to treat nasal blockage.
: Do not give cold and flu medicine to children under age 4. Consult a doctor.
Step 4: Include a cough suppressant Include a cough suppressant to take at night if needed. Avoid taking it during the day, when it's better to expel any phlegm.
TIP: Be careful when mixing over-the-counter medications; several may have an ingredient in common, which can lead to an inadvertent overdose.
Step 5: Stock up on tissues Stock up on tissues and hand sanitizer. Consider keeping a face mask in your emergency flu kit to help prevent spreading the flu to housemates with weakened immune systems -- the very young, the very old, and anyone with a chronic illness.
Step 6: Store liquids Store sports drinks to avoid dehydration. If you prefer bottled water to tap, have extra set aside. And put away some packaged soups and herbal tea; hot liquids can be soothing and you probably won't feel like cooking. Finally, stash some comedy DVDs -- because laughter really can be the best medicine.
FACT: There's no such thing as the "stomach flu." Gastrointestinal distress is usually caused by eating or drinking something contaminated.