Nurses must assess patient capacity for self care as well as the capacity of caregivers to provide safe care. The patient education process provides a good opportunity to assess patient and caregiver ability to understand and perform necessary care parameters. In the event of a community epidemic, education and home care may be the best option to insure availablity of life saving resources. Patient education should include discussion of the following along with instructional resources that can reinforce learning in the home.
for uncomplicated flu amounts to supportive measures:
- Force fluids
- Over The Counter pain and antipyretics
must not be given to children and adolescents who have the flu. Children who regularly
take aspirin for medical conditions are priority patients for receiving TIV
(Killed Virus) vaccine.
- Antibiotics are
not appropriate treatment for uncomplicated flu.
- Cautioned patients against
dangers of self medicating with antibiotics
- Bacterial resistance
- Superinfection - secondary infection caused by an opportunistic infection
- Locate and post emergency telephone numbers for household use:
- 24 hr emergent care service
- 24 hr pharmacy
- 24 hr local hospital emergency room
- Personal healthcare provider
- Family contacts
- Seek emergency care/medical advice immediately if patient with influenza-like illness develops any of the following:
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain
- Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
- Vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry
- Seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)
- Responsiveness less than normal or confusion
- Stress the importance of hygiene
- Frequent hand washing
- Disposable tissues and cleaning cloths
- Covering cough/sneeze
- Six foot radius to prevent droplet/aerosol contamination
- Infected persons should wear mask in public if tolerable
- Evaluate the risk/benefit of physical contact with others.
- Pregnant women should avoid caring for the persons with influenza-like illness (ILI)
- Provide separate bathroom for persons with ILI when possibl
- Avoid being face-to-face with the sick person.
- When holding small children who are sick, place their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face.
- Clean your hands with soap and water after you touch the sick person or handle used tissues, or laundry. If soap and water are not available, use a commercially prepared alcohol-based antiseptic handcleaner or towelette
- Talk to your health care provider about taking antiviral medication to prevent the caregiver from getting the flu.
- If you are at high risk of influenza associated complications, you should not be the designated caretaker, if possible.
- If you are in a high risk group for complications from influenza, you should attempt to avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with household members who are sick with influenza.
- Designate a person who is not at high risk of flu associated complications as the primary caretaker of household members who are sick with influenza, if at all possible.
- If close contact with a sick individual is unavoidable, consider wearing a facemask or respirator, if available and tolerable.
- Monitor yourself and household members for flu symptoms and contact a telephone hotline or health care provider if symptoms occur.