2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Help! I’m Getting the Flu

Click here for the Health Tip link.

We’ve talked about the flu in my last couple health tips, but let’s review before we discuss Tamiflu, the antiviral drug.

First, learn to differentiate a common cold from the flu. With a cold, most of the symptoms you feel are evidence that your body is trying to shed a virus that has invaded the moist membranes lining your respiratory system. This means nasal passages, sinuses, inner ears, throat, trachea (the cartilage you feel in your neck), and bronchial tubes. With a cold, the only area that actually hurts is your throat, and that’s usually where the infection starts. The virus spreads upward (sinuses, nostrils) and down (bronchial tubes) and your respiratory system, in its wisdom, produces lots of mucous to help it shed, and kill, the virus. With a cold, there’s rarely a fever, no muscle aches, and little fatigue. You just wonder how you could possibly generate all that mucous. As you drip everywhere, just remind yourself that it’s a good thing. Your body is doing its job.

The flu is nastier. It’s a bad cold plus body aches, headaches, fever, brain fog, and profound fatigue. Colds arrive sporadically, but the flu comes in an epidemic, spreading like a prairie fire. Work in a big office? Live in a dorm? On Monday, a few people are ill. By Friday, a third of the office is phoning in sick, and those who come to work simply spread it further.

Can you get the flu even though you’ve had a flu shot? Sadly, yes. The virus may have altered itself to trick the vaccine prepared for the expected epidemic (viruses are masters at changing to survive). However, having the vaccine in your system will give you a much milder case of flu than your no-flu-shot friends.

If you find yourself coming down with flu symptoms, contact your doctor for a prescription for the antiviral drug Tamiflu. WholeHealth Chicago patients can contact the office (ask for my assistant Liz) or send me an email. Even faster, have your pharmacy fax a prescription request for Tamiflu to us at 773-296-1131. (Obviously, this is available only to WholeHealthChicago patients.) You don’t have to make an appointment to see me, and, in fact, waiting for an appointment will make the Tamiflu less effective.

That’s because in order for Tamiflu to work effectively, you need to start it at the first sign of the flu–as soon as 12 hours after the onset of symptoms, if possible. Now that you’ve learned how to differentiate a cold from the flu, I’ll trust your self-diagnosis skills.

Before I make Tamiflu sound miraculous, understand its antiviral effects offer two benefits: reducing the severity of symptoms and shortening the course of the illness. Tamiflu doesn’t magically make flu go away. It just makes it easier to bear. By the way, if you misdiagnose yourself and take Tamiflu for a cold, nothing bad will happen. It simply won’t do anything.

In addition to the Tamiflu:
• Increase your intake of the immune stimulant Host Defense to two capsules daily.
• Take aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil (two every 4 to 6 hours) to reduce symptoms.
• Push fluids of all sorts. You drift into dehydration with a viral infection and will feel weaker just from that alone. In addition, staying hydrated with keep your mucous thinner and easier to cough out of your lungs or drain from your sinuses.
• Get some throat lozenges, decongestants (Olbas Tea is terrific!), mucous thinners (such as Bronchoril or Mucinex), and several cans of chicken soup.
• Rent a stackful of movies. Comedies are good. “Singin’ in the Rain” gets me through anything.
• Don’t go to work. Go to bed.

Leave a Comment


  1. Dan Landt says:

    Thanks for having this very practical information site!

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.

ALLERGIES

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

COLD
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

STREP THROAT
• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

CORONAVIRUS-COVID 19
• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

Recent Health Tips

  • WholeHealth Chicago Has Re-Opened

    Is WholeHealth Chicago safe? We’ve followed every possible patient safety recommendation written by Dr. Fauci’s team and our practice administrator, Jamie Ozga, sent us five pages of OCD-laden (that’s obsessive-compulsive disorder) procedures to follow. Our front desk, Apothecary staff, and medical assistants have been so precision-trained they could put the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes to shame. If you don’t know who the Rockettes are, Read More

  • Conquering Candida: A Telemedicine Consultation

    You might be reading this Health Tip from a town 40 miles north of Mobile, Alabama, or somewhere west of Pecos, New Mexico, and you might be thinking, “Well, this sounds exactly like what I’ve got but there’s no doctor around here who knows anything about it.” We hear you. You’re a victim of the Candida Wars and telemedicine can help change that. It’s hard Read More

  • Mold Toxicity: A Telemedicine Consultation

    Most people who are ultimately diagnosed with chronic inflammation triggered by black mold have heard somewhere “mold can make you sick.” However, only a few make the connection between their years of ill health and the water damage in their basement or attic, behind their kitchen sink, in their car, or around the upstairs neighbor’s overflowing bathtub. Here’s what’s going on Mold is everywhere: in Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!