Dealing with  the flu


Are you or a member of your family sick with the flu? Find out what you can do to ease the symptoms, and when you should call your health care professional.

If you or a family member have the flu, use this Flu Assessment Tool to help you decide what to do next.

Flu Assessment Tool

What should I do if I get sick?

If you or someone in your home has the flu, there are some things you can do to make yourself feel better and avoid spreading the virus to others. Stay home and get plenty of rest. Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, particularly after coughing or blowing your nose.

To ease the symptoms of flu:

  • drink lots of fluids;
  • avoid drinks with caffeine;
  • take basic pain or fever relievers;
  • do not give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA or Aspirin®) to children or teenagers under the age of 18;
  • apply heat for short periods of time using a hot water bottle or heating pad to reduce muscle pain;
  • take a warm bath;
  • gargle with a glass of warm water or suck on hard candy or lozenges;
  • use saline drops or spray for a stuffy nose; and
  • avoid alcohol and tobacco.

What if my child is sick?

Seek medical care immediately for your child if his or her symptoms improve and then suddenly become worse.

In addition, seek care if you notice any of the following signs:

  • fast or difficult breathing;
  • bluish or dark-coloured lips or skin;
  • drowsiness to the point where he or she cannot be easily wakened;
  • severe crankiness or not wanting to be held; or
  • dehydration – not drinking enough fluids and not going to the bathroom regularly.

When should I seek medical care?

Most cases of the flu tend to be mild. However, if you do not start to feel better after a few days or if your symptoms get worse, you should either call your health care provider or Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000.

You should call your health care provider immediately if you experience flu symptoms and you:

  • are pregnant;
  • have heart or lung disease;
  • have any other chronic health problem that requires regular medical attention;
  • live in a remote or isolated community;
  • are elderly or frail; or
  • have an illness or are receiving treatments – for example, for diabetes, cancer, or HIV/AIDS – that might affect your immune system.

For More Information
For information about flu

Call the ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-877-844-1944
TTY 1-800-387-5559
TTY (Toronto) 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm

To speak with a registered nurse

Visit Telehealth Ontario or call 1-866-797-0000
TTY: 1-866-797-0007
Hours of operation : 24 hours, 7 days a week

To find health care options in your community

Visit or call 1-866-330-6206.

To find a health care provider

If you don’t have a health care provider, you can register for the Health Care Connect program. Visit or call 1-800-445-1822.