Caring for someone with influenza
During a severe influenza outbreak or pandemic, the media and healthcare providers will notify residents of King County with instructions for obtaining medical advice and receiving medical care. The following information is a general guide and is not intended to take the place of medical advice from a healthcare provider.
Monitoring and comforting
- Keep a care log. Record the following information about the ill person at least once each day or more often as symptoms change, along with the date and time.
- Check the patient's temperature
- Check the patient's skin for color (pink, pale or bluish?) and rash
- Record the approximate quantity of fluids consumed each day and through that night
- Record how many times the ill person urinates each day and the color of the urine (clear to light yellow, dark yellow, brown, or red)
- Record all medications, dosages and times given
- Keep the ill person as comfortable as possible. Rest is important.
- Keep tissues and a trash bag for their disposal within reach of the patient.
- Keep in mind that fever is a sign that the body is fighting the infection. It will go away as the patient is getting better. Sponging with lukewarm (wrist-temperature) water may lower the patient's temperature, but only during the period of sponging. Do not sponge with alcohol.
- Watch for complications of influenza. Complications are more common in individuals with health conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung problems, but may occur with anyone who has the flu. Call your healthcare provider or the pandemic flu hotline if the ill person:
- Has difficulty breathing, fast breathing, or bluish color to the skin or lips
- Begins coughing up blood
- Shows signs of dehydration and cannot take enough fluids
- Does not respond or communicate appropriately or appears confused
- Complains of pain or pressure in the chest
- Has convulsions (seizures)
- Is getting worse again after appearing to improve
- Is an infant younger than 2 months old with fever, poor feeding, urinating less than 3 times per day or other signs of illness
- Use ibuprofen or acetaminophen or other measures, as recommended by your healthcare provider, for fever, sore throat and general discomfort.
- Do not use aspirin in children or teenagers with influenza because it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening illness.