Submitted by Carol Tomlinson RN BS, Community Health Educator
PREPARING YOUR HOUSEHOLD FOR FLU
We all need to be prepared for flu season by stocking our medicine cabinets and food pantries with appropriate supplies. You’ll rest easier at home if you, or someone in your home, become ill and you are prepared. Start picking up supplies today by purchasing an item each time you go to the store. You can’t run to the store if you are sick, and if many people are sick at the same time, stores may become depleted. It will also easier on your budget.
The New York State Department of Health suggests stocking the following items:
• Bottled water
• Canned or bottled juice and ginger ale
• Hydrating drinks
• Low sodium or unsalted crackers
• Low sodium canned or instant broth mixes such as chicken, vegetable or beef
• Low sodium canned or dry soup mixes
• Flavored gelatins
• Flavored ice pops
For Fever: Use a reliable thermometer to take temperatures. You may want to use pain relievers such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprophen), or Aleve (naproxyn). Choose either the brand names or generic store brands. Always check with your doctor if the ill person has another medical condition such as high blood pressure, kidney or stomach problems, or is on blood thinners.
For Cough, Sneezing and Nasal Congestion: Use liquid cough medicines or over-the-counter cold medicines to treat symptoms of congestion and to control cough. If needed, liquid cough medicines labeled “expectorants” help loosen phlegm (mucus). Liquid or tablet medications labeled either “decongestant” or “antihistamine” help reduce nasal stuffiness. Nose drops and nasal sprays also work to relieve nasal congestion. Remember to check the ingredients on the label to see if a medication already contains acetaminophen or ibuprophen before taking it…DON’T double dose! Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
For Sore Throat: Use cough drops or any hard candy or lozenges to soothe a sore throat. Pain relievers can also be used.
For Body Aches or Headache: Use aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprophen or naproxyn as directed.
For Vomiting and Diarrhea: These symptoms are not always present with the flu. Anti-diarrheal medicines are generally not needed or recommended. If you have severe or ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, check with your doctor…PREVENTING dehydration is essential! When you have a fever, diarrhea or vomiting, you lose lots of water and essential minerals. Therefore, you should avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids.
Keep your emergency stockpiles of foods and medications with other critical supplies, such as prescription drugs and copies of important documents like health records, insurance cards and phone numbers.
The N.Y.S. Department of Health reminds you to stay on top of the flu. Good nutrition, combined with enough rest and exercise, can help you stay healthy. Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Stay home if you are sick and cover your coughs and sneezes to avoid the spread of germs.
For more information on flu, visit www.nyhealth.gov, contact your health care provider, your county public health department, or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at email@example.com or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re celebrating 20 years of being your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.