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Care of Colds and Flu

You may be noticing some symptoms, such as a runny nose, cough, or sore throat, and wondering if it is a cold, flu, or even COVID-19. Read below for information on how to prevent these illnesses, how to care for yourself when you are sick, and when to seek medical care.

Reporting COVID-19 symptoms

If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, please report these on Dr. Chat Bot so you can get tested.

How to stay healthy
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Don’t have soap? Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw your used tissues in the trash. Then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Do not share towels, utensils, cups, straws, etc.
  • Get a flu shot every year in the fall
Self-Care for a Cold
  • Drink fluids such as water, soup, fruit juice, tea, warm or broth.
  • Suck on cough drops to moisten your throat. Gargle with warm salt water every few hours (1/4 tsp of salt).
  • Avoid alcoholic /caffeinated drinks.
  • Use acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®) as directed for pain or fever. DO NOT USE ASPIRIN.
  • Place a cool washcloth over your forehead and/or behind your neck if you have a fever.
  • Use a decongestant (to alleviate/ dry up mucus in head, nose, and throat).
  • Do not bundle up in heavy clothes.
  • Elevate your head with extra pillows at night.
Self-Care for a Cough

For a Productive Cough (i.e., a cough that brings up mucus or phlegm)

  • Drink plenty of liquids and use a vaporizer or hot shower steam to loosen congestion and thin mucus.
  • Take an expectorant, such as Robitussin. Do not take a cough suppressant to suppress a cough so much that you are no longer bringing up mucus.
  • Stop smoking and stay away from places where people are smoking.
  • Drink 8 oz. of fluids (fruit juice, water, soup, or other replenishing liquids) every few hours to replace fluids lost through “invisible” perspiration.

For a Non-productive Cough (i.e., a dry cough that does not bring up mucus)

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Hot beverages with honey soothe the throat.
  • Take an over-the-counter cough suppressant with dextromethorphan.
  • Take a decongestant, such as Sudafed, if you have post-nasal drip.
  • Suck on cough drops, lozenges, or hard candy to soothe and moisten a dry, irritated throat.
When to Seek Medical Care
  • You have a fever is 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher that persists for more than 2 days.
  • You cough up bloody, brown, or green mucus.
  • You experience shortness of breath or severe chest pains.
  • You experience a cough that lasts longer than 10 days to 2 weeks.
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