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Reye's Syndrome, H1N1 and Influenza

CDC Novel H1N1 Flu (Or Any Flu) Guidelines

Warning! Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid / salicylates) to children or teenagers who have the flu; this can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye's Syndrome.

Check ingredient labels on all over-the-counter cold and flu medications to see if they contain aspirin / salicylates. Download a list of ingredients to avoid here. Teenagers with the flu can take medicines without aspirin, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), to relieve symptoms.

Children younger than 6 years of age should not be given over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a healthcare provider.

The safest care for flu symptoms in children younger than 2 years of age is using a cool-mist humidifier and a suction bulb to help clear away mucus.

Fevers and aches can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Examples of these kinds of medications include:

  • Acetaminophen; Tylenol

  • Ibuprofen; Advil, Motrin, Nuprin

  • Naproxen; Aleve

Over-the-counter cold and flu medications used according to the package instructions may help lessen some symptoms such as cough and congestion. Importantly, these medications will not lessen how infectious a person is.

Check the ingredients on the package label to see if the medication already contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen before taking additional doses of these medications --don't-- double dose! Patients with kidney disease or stomach problems should check with their health care provider before taking any NSAIDS.

Check with your health care provider or pharmacist if you are taking other over-the-counter or prescription medications not related to the flu. For more information on products for treating flu symptoms, see the FDA website.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Care:

Get medical care right away if the sick person at home:

  • has difficulty breathing or chest pain

  • has purple or blue discoloration of the lips

  • is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down

  • has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry

  • has seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)

  • is less responsive than normal or becomes confused

More information about the Novel H1N1 Flu see Flu.Gov

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