Flu FAQs

Brought to you by the healthcare professionals at San Juan Regional Medical Center.

Q: I think it's the flu. What should I do?

A: First of all, don't be overanxious. Many people may get sick during the flu season. But for most, it'll be like a bad cold and gets better with time. If you think you're ill, stay home. If your children are sick, don’t send them to school. Sleep and fluids are what you and your children need.

Q: When should I see a doctor?

A: If you have a severe, chronic illness such as asthma, diabetes, or COPD—or if you're pregnant—let your doctor know if you have flu symptoms. They may prescribe medication to help with symptoms or prevent another infection. Take ibuprofen (or give your child ibuprofen) for a high fever. If you (or your child) have difficulty breathing, can’t stop vomiting, can't keep fluids down, or have a high fever that doesn’t come down with ibuprofen, see a doctor. 

If you start feeling better but get a new fever, cough, or chest pain, you should also see a doctor. Unless your symptoms are severe, see your primary care doctor or go to San Juan Health Partners Urgent Care.

Q: What will happen if I go to the emergency room (ER)?

A: Come to the ER if your symptoms are severe, but don't bring those who are well with you (other than a parent bringing a sick child). The ER is a great place to catch the flu! At the ER, you'll be asked to wait in a special section of the waiting area to help prevent the spread of flu to those who are there for non-flu related treatment. You’ll be given a mask to wear. Please use it. Unless you're sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, you will not be tested for the flu and may not get any blood work or X-rays. Ibuprofen and fluids are our standard treatment.

Please be assured, however, that an ER doctor will see you and will not send you home unless you are well enough to go home.

Q: What are other common sense measures to take during flu season?

A: If you're ill, please don't come to the hospital to visit patients. Don't go to work, send your sick children to school, go to church, or go out in public. Plan on getting vaccinated for both the regular flu (A and B) and the swine flu (H1N1), especially if you have a severe underlying illness like diabetes or COPD. Pregnant women and young children should also be vaccinated. It is NOT true that the vaccine will give you the flu, but it WILL protect you from most true influenza viruses. Wash your hands frequently—especially after sneezing or coughing. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds or clean with an alcohol-based hand cleaner like Purell. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve instead of your hands.

Don't share cups, glasses, or towels.

Stock up now on acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). Take them as directed, they will control your fever and aches. Have plenty of soups, Gatorade, throat lozenges, and juices in your home. Most people we treat with the flu in the ER are dehydrated from the fever and dry air here in Farmington. You will feel better if you drink a lot of fluids.

Avoid people who are sick.