Q: How long does the flu last?
Dr. Scott Hoskinson, infectious disease, Hawaii Permanente Medical Group/Pacific Permanente Group: Typical flu presents with sudden onset fever, chills, diffuse body aches, cough and significant fatigue. The incubation period is usually about three to five days after you have been exposed. The usual duration is around seven days, but one can feel weak and tired for longer than that. Usually if you have a normal immune system and no significant chronic illness, symptomatic treatment is all that is needed. Your immune system will eliminate the virus. Sometimes there can be complications like a secondary bacterial bronchitis or pneumonia. If you are becoming worse rather than better after seven days, it is reasonable to see a doctor.
People who are immune compromised or have chronic medical problems, like those over 65, young children under 5, pregnant females, and those with chronic conditions like COPD, cancer, heart trouble, asthma, are more likely to get complications after getting the flu. It is reasonable for them to see a doctor as soon as flu is suspected since it might be reasonable to treat them for flu.
Q: Is there anything I can do about morning sickness?
Dr. Trina Chakravarty, OB-GYN, Maui Lani Surgeons and Physicians: If you’re having morning sickness, you’re not alone. More than half of pregnant women report suffering through some amount of nausea or vomiting. While most people experience pregnancy nausea in the first trimester and it usually subsides by the early second trimester of your pregnancy, a few people may experience a resurgence of nausea in the third trimester. While it’s common to wake up nauseated, it can actually affect you at any time of the day, so the term “morning sickness” can be misleading.
There are things you can do to reduce or minimize your symptoms. Pregnancy nausea is usually worse on an empty stomach, so eat five or six small meals throughout the day, rather than three big ones. Eat dry, bland foods like dry toast or saltine crackers to settle your stomach and avoid foods that are spicy or greasy. Avoid smells that make you feel sick and sip soda water, tea or water, or suck on ice chips when you feel nauseated. Ginger and ginger supplements can also help ease symptoms of nausea. If you find your prenatal vitamins worsen your nausea, try switching to a chewable or gummy form until your nausea abates. Some people find that acupuncture helps with symptoms.
If your symptoms are severe to where you’re vomiting multiple times a day or are losing weight because you can’t keep down foods or fluids, talk with your doctor about whether you should take an anti-nausea medication.
• Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on Thursdays. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealthsystem.org/contact.