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If You Have an Influenza-like Illness

If you are showing symptoms of an influenza-like illness (ILI), then there are some steps you can take to more closely identify your illness and how to take care of yourself.

  1. Take your temperature and assess your level of fever
    • Be sure to wash your hands before taking your temperature.
    • To get the most accurate reading; hold the thermometer under your tongue for at least one minute or until it beeps.
    • Read the display immediately after removing.
    • Write down the date, time, and your temperature.
  2. Practice self-isolation techniques
    • Stay at home for 24 hours after your fever is gone. The Center for Disease Control recommends this exclusion period regardless of whether or not antiviral medications are used.
    • Throw tissues away immediately after use and sanitize your hands. Do not reuse tissues.
  3. Prevent germ distribution
    • Avoid crowds or situations that put you in close proximity to people.
    • If you must leave your home, practice proper respiratory etiquette by wearing a mask, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and coughing and sneezing into a shirtsleeve or tissue.
    • Do not share personal items that have a high-risk of being contaminated. If you must do so, sanitize them first.
  4. Perform at-home self-care
    • Gargle with salt water to help soothe a sore throat. Mix ¼ teaspoon of plain salt into a glass of very warm water.
    • Increase fluid intake with water, juice, hot tea, and soups. This can help relieve nasal congestion and soothe a sore throat.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Eat regular, well-balanced meals.
    • Do your best to stay at home and rest, sleeping at least seven to nine hours per night.
    • If you have trouble sleeping due to nasal congestion or drainage, use extra pillows to prop yourself up to a 45° angle.
    • Avoid smoke and alcohol as they can aggravate and prolong symptoms.
    • Take hot, steamy showers to suppress coughing and loosen congestion.
    • Consider using a humidifier or vaporizer to soothe irritated nasal and throat passages.
    • Use mentholated ointment around your nose. This will help open breathing passages and soothe irritated skin.
  5. Call your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:
    • Symptoms that have not shown improvement within seven days
    • Persistent, frequent coughing that is continuous throughout the day for more than seven days
    • Ear pain, loss of hearing, blood or discharge from the ear
    • Severe headache and confusion, or the worst headache you have ever had, with no relief with acetaminophen or ibuprofen
    • Stiff neck
    • Rash
    • Fever of over 100°F that either does not reduce with either the use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), or that lasts for more than five days
    • Fever of over 103°F
    • Chest pain, wheezing, or shortness of breath
    • Swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck, groin, and armpits
    • If you are pregnant and have ILI symptoms
    • Enlarged tonsils that inhibit swallowing, choke you, alter your voice, or are coated with white or yellow discharge
    • Severe facial pain
    • Symptoms that get worse after getting better
    • If you have a history of diabetes, heart, kidney, or lung disease and have ILI symptoms
    • If you have a history of strep infections and have ILI symptoms
    • If you do not identify with any of the previous symptoms