Treat the flu

This is a message from Ottawa's health care partners: The Ottawa Hospital, Hôpital Montfort, CHEO,  The Royal, Queensway Carleton Hospital, Bruyère Continuing Care, Public Health Ottawa and Champlain Local Health Integration Network.

Ottawa, December 10, 2018

Know when to stay home. Know when to seek medical attention. 

When to stay home

Even though flu symptoms (such as fever, cough, muscle aches, a sore throat and fatigue) can make you feel really sick and can last for more than a week, in most cases you can care for yourself at home.

  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids – to avoid dehydration
  • Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for aches and fever

Avoid spreading the flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay home until you are fever-free for 24 hours AND you are feeling better
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hand
  • Keep a distance from others of at least two metres (6.5 feet)
  • Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles with normal household disinfectants

When to see your physician or primary care provider

If you are pregnant or have a medical condition related to heart, lungs or immune system, see your physician or primary care provider as soon as possible after the onset of the symptoms; antiviral medications are more effective when started earlier.

If you are worried that your flu symptoms are getting worse, please seek care with your family physician or primary health care provider first.

When to go to a hospital emergency department

If symptoms become severe – such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, lips turning blue, extreme weakness, rapid pulse, confusion or passing out – go to a hospital emergency department.

Emergency departments do not perform routine testing for flu or give flu immunizations.

To prevent getting the flu

For information on vaccination clinics, call Ottawa Public Health Information Centre at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656) to speak to a public health nurse or visit