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Influenza Information Center

Symptoms of the flu include abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, sore throat, a nonproductive cough, headache and extreme fatigue.Influenza, also know as the flu, is a highly contagious viral respiratory tract infection. It is estimated that each year, the flu affects 10-20% of the United States population. 

Symptoms of the flu include abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, sore throat, a nonproductive cough, headache and extreme fatigue. You can take preventive measures to avoid the flu by: being diligent about hand washing; disinfecting shared surfaces like phones, door knobs and keyboards; limiting contact with anyone infected with the flu and especially by getting the influenza vaccine.

Crozer-Keystone Health System offers the following resources to help you protect yourself and your family from infection and serious illness.

Flu Season Visitation Policy

To protect our patients, their family members and our health care providers, Crozer-Keystone has updated its inpatient visitation policy. This policy will be in effect starting Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 and running for the duration of flu season.

During this time, Crozer-Keystone requires that only friends and family 14 years or older visit patients in our hospitals. Exceptions to this policy can only be made by the treating nurse or practitioner for end-of-life and other humanitarian situations.

Crozer-Keystone also requests that all visitors follow these precautions:

  • Visitors who have symptoms of the flu, the cold or a gastrointestinal (GI) virus should not visit patients in the hospital. Symptoms of these illnesses may include sniffles, sneezing, coughing, aches, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Visitors should wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Visitor should cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. If they do not have a tissue, visitors are asked to cough or sneeze into their upper sleeves, not their hands.

In addition, visitors may be asked to wear a mask to prevent the spread of illness.

Community Flu Immunization Hotline

Call 610-447-2050. We provide weekly updates on dates, times and locations of flu and pneumonia vaccines being given in the community.

Flu Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

To learn more about the symptoms, treatment and prevention of the flu, click the text in the shaded areas below, or view the video.

Flu Symptoms

Flu symptoms are similar to the common cold, but are more intense; they include:

  1. Fever, or feeling feverish
  2. Cough - usually non productive
  3. Sore throat
  4. Body aches
  5. Runny or stuffy nose
  6. Fatigue

When to Seek Medical Treatment

If you are concerned that you may have the flu, you can contact your doctor to discuss potential treatment options. Your doctor is always available to answer your questions or to see you in the office if needed. Those listed below are at increased risk from influenza or its complications and should contact their doctor if they believe they have the flu:

  1. If you have chronic medical conditions such as Diabetes, Asthma, Emphysema (COPD), Coronary Artery Disease, End Stage Kidney Disease, or are receiving treatment for cancer or are on immunosuppressive medications.
  2. If you are in the above groups and you have had significant exposure to someone you know has the flu.
  3. If you are age 65 or older.
  4. If your child is younger than five.
  5. If you are pregnant.
  6. If you are obese.

The following symptoms should prompt you to call your doctor:

  1. If your symptoms improve and then get worse.
  2. If your cough lingers and becomes productive.
  3. If you experience shortness of breath.
  4. If you experience dizziness or light headedness.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health also offers useful information on when to seek medical help. (Download PDF)

Medical Treatment: From Physicians and at Home

Your doctor may choose to treat you with an antiviral medication. The antiviral medication may reduce the duration of the flu and decrease the incidence of potential complications. The medication is most effective when given within two days of developing the flu. As the flu is usually self-limited (will resolve without medication in 5-7 days), not everyone chooses to use the medication.

Home Treatment of the Flu

Stay home if you have the flu until your symptoms have mostly resolved. Avoid spreading the virus to others.
  1. Create a “sick room” in your house to limit the spread of the virus to others in your family.
  2. Rest and drink lots of fluids.
  3. Hot tea and soup can ease your sore throat.
  4. For fever, sponge your body with lukewarm water - not cold water or ice.
  5. To help with a stuffy nose, breathing in warm mist from a shower or sink filled with hot water is helpful.
  6. Use cough drops or lozenges to help with cough and sore throat.
  7. Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke.
  8. If you are on prescription medicines or have a chronic medical condition, please consult your doctor prior to using the over the counter preparations below. Try to target the symptoms that are bothering you rather than using a multi-symptom over the counter preparation, as they often contain antihistamines and alcohol, which are not helpful for the flu.
  9. Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen can be used for fever and body aches. Do not use aspirin for anyone under age 20.
  10. Decongestants or nasal sprays can be used as directed for nasal congestion.
  11. For thick secretions, guaifenesin can be helpful.
  12. For a dry cough, dextromethorphan can be helpful.

Wash Your Hands to Prevent Spread of Flu

Learn more about how to prevent the spread of flu through handwashing.

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