I just want to feel better.
January 22, 2007 2:27 AM   Subscribe

Last Thursday I was diagnosed with the flu. Sunday I was diagnosed with a sinus infection. Today is Monday and I do not feel even the slightest bit better. Help!

Wednesday afternoon I was hit, somewhat suddenly, with severe allergy symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, dry cough). By nighttime, it was accompanied by very high fever, and by the next morning I had the telltale muscle soreness, so I went to the doctor, who confirmed my suspicions that I had the flu. I was given two injections and three days worth of pills, and by Friday morning I felt pretty good. Good enough to go to taekwondo and do very (very) moderate exercise.

By Friday afternoon I was again suffering a crippling fever. I continued to take my meds until they ran out, and Friday and Saturday night were both sleepless due to the fact that I was sweating so much I basically soaked the sheets. On Saturday came the headache, so severe I couldn't do anything but lay on the couch and stare straight ahead. The headache (I think) caused me to suffer major nausea but nothing had come of that yet (no vomiting or diarrhea).

Sunday was much the same, debilitating headache, as well as the sudden appearance of funny-colored snot and (pardon my frankness) "chunky" expectorate. I know that it's not uncommon to develop a sinus infection following the flu, and also I was out of meds, so I went back to the doctor who prescribed me a new round of drugs, this time antibiotics, sinus pills and some other stuff I'm not sure what it is.

It is now Monday night and I have been suffering from mild headache and nausea all day. My sinuses are a bit stuffy but more than that I feel utterly miserable. I feel as though I might throw up any minute, but I can't. Around lunchtime, after I took my medicine, I got all hot and sweaty and my heart felt race-y and now, though I haven't taken meds in about six hours, I feel light-headed and dizzy and vomit-y still.

Is my medicine making me feel ill. I would consult the doctor again but I live in a very small town in Korea and I'm lucky to get a small explanation in English of what they think is wrong with me and what drugs I'm being given. Drugs are administered by the pharmacy in dosage packets, not in bottles, so I have no names or labels or other info other than one is an antibiotic and one is likely a decongestant. There are two Tylenol ER in the pack, and four other unknown pills.

Really, I just feel miserable and want to feel better as soon as possible, so any advice would be welcome.
posted by Brittanie to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Fluids and bedrest until you feel better. Flu is horrid. All the best.
posted by flabdablet at 2:40 AM on January 22, 2007

all I can say is, yes the symptoms could be related to the drugs, although they can happen with Flu too.
Are you taking the meds with some food? I know you feel nausous but some meds can be very hard on the stomach.
Also, if you complained of severe headache the doc may have given you tramadol or something with codeine in it, both of which can cause dizzyness and nausea.
If you can deal with the pain, just continue with the antibiotic, and make sure you're drinking plenty of water.
I would switch to simple paracetamol or brufen if the pain or chills need treating.
posted by Wilder at 2:44 AM on January 22, 2007

Response by poster: I am eating a little with the drugs but the nausea has pretty much killed my appetite. I was under the impression that the Tylenol ER (prescription strength) was for both the headache and the fever.
posted by Brittanie at 2:58 AM on January 22, 2007

It's totally normal to still be feeling ill only four days after coming down with flu. Rest and drink fluids, you'll get better eventually. Don't try and do things.

The heart racing thing sounds like the reaction I get to decongestants (I don't take them at all, now), but this is not necessarily the case for you.
posted by altolinguistic at 4:06 AM on January 22, 2007

Have you tried to Google the identifying information on the pills for information on what the drugs are?
posted by arimathea at 4:46 AM on January 22, 2007

Because the Tylenol is prescribed, it is highly likely that it is one of the preparations containing codeine. The reason I suggested switching to a simply analgesic is that codeine makes me feel sick and dizzy, just like you described. It's bad enough that you have to suffer Flu-symptoms without these additional problems! Oh and codeine can also constipate!
Get well soon
posted by Wilder at 5:01 AM on January 22, 2007

My girlfriend was pretty much sleeping for a week when she got the flu. You're typing coherently after four days, you seem to be doing pretty well!

Is there any writing in Korean on the pills you could transcribe? Someone here might be able to translate it.
posted by stereo at 5:06 AM on January 22, 2007

If it's codeine, it's likely to make you nauseated on an empty stomach, and if you have blood levels up and your stomach gets empty, it can make you queasy. Try to get down a few crackers or something and see if it helps, or change to a non-opiate pain reliever, as others have said.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:08 AM on January 22, 2007

Erythromycin is well-known for causing nausea, but it's also seldom prescribed for the same reason.

Actual influenza flu has never caused me nausea (loss of appetite, yes, absolutely, but never nausea); foodborne illness has—and often has other symptoms that mimic influenza, hence stupid names like 'stomach flu'.

Hot and sweaty and heart-racey and dizzy sounds like what happens to me when my blood sugar and glycogen reserves are both low. And if you're not eating well or regularly, that's a prime suspect. On the other hand, a racing heart can also be a symptom of a lot of other things. If it's the blood sugar, fruit juice will make it go away fast, and proteiny foods like tofu will help prevent its coming back too suddenly. Next time it happens, see if some OJ quashes it.

I concur with altolinguistic on the length of influenza; five days of misery is entirely normal, and another week of weakness is pretty normal too.

And I have no idea what your doctor was doing giving you injections. Influenza is treated palliatively, and that's about it: an antipyretic for the fever, an analgesic for the muscle pains, lots of water. All of these can be taken orally. For a sinus infection, an antibiotic, an antihistamine, an expectorant, possibly an antitussive; again, all can be taken orally. Weird.

Anyway, I hope all this information helps you make sense of what's going on, because the only thing that actually makes flu better is time, assisted by bed rest and nondiuretic liquids. (And I am pretty sure bed rest is superior to sitting in a chair or even collapsing on the couch, so hie thee thither.)
posted by eritain at 5:09 AM on January 22, 2007

Response by poster: eritain, the doctor told me I could take the injections as most Koreans do or take a lot of oral meds as most foreigners prefer. He said the shots work a lot faster, so I obliged. I have no idea what was in them — one was a normal shot given to me in my bum/hip region and the other was given to me in my arm and administered over about 5-7 minutes continually (not via IV but just a nurse, a needle and a steady hand). When I went back Sunday to see about the sinus infection I got both injections again.

The reason I'm worried is that I really felt about 90 percent fine Friday morning, but since then I've felt bad without even a trace of getting better. I have been drinking lots of OJ and water and just about the only thing I can manage to eat are oranges and bananas. Today I have a very small amount of fresh spinach and tuna with balsamic vinegar dressing.

Most of the pill ID websites only list US pills, I've had trouble IDing any of the ones I'm taking other than the obvious one which says Tylenol ER. I've had previous anxiety-like reactions with Sudafed and other decongestants, so I'd rather not be taking full-force ones if neccesary. In fact, the only thing I really want to take is the antibiotic.

Here is a description of the pills in my pack:
— Two Tylenol ER
— one pink round pill, about the width of a pencil eraser, imprinted with AJU SPT
— one beige round pill, slightly smaller than the pink one, with a calligraphied "r" on one side and KDR on the other
— large oblong white pill with YH on one side and a dividing line through the middle of the other side
— one small white pill, same size as the pink and beige, cut in half, with imprint that looks like S:L on the top half and maybe 5D 6D or SD 60 on the bottom half (too small to see clearly)
— green and white capsule that reads CTL200

I'm supposed to take one of these full packets three times a day.
posted by Brittanie at 5:28 AM on January 22, 2007

If it is a sinus infection, it will take plenty of time and bedrest for you to recover. Sinusitis can be brutal, and it worsens if you don't take care of yourself. I came *this* close to having surgery for sinusitis last year. Two recommendations:

1. Nasal irrigation. Really, it's warm salt water that goes up one part of your nose and comes out the other. You can buy packages at some stores in the US, but they may not be available where you are. So if you have a squirt bottle, follow the directions here. Do it after a hot bath or shower, when your sinuses are at least a little less blocked. It should help to clear out the goo in there. And it doesn't hurt.

2. Humidifier. Do you have one? Can you get one? If so, it's really a good idea because it will help you to breathe more easily at night. If you can find peppermint oil, you can put one or two drops into the tank and this will also help clear your sinuses.

One of the shots that made you feel better right away might have been steroidal. But if it's you don't accompany the meds with taking care of yourself, you're definitely going to keep feeling icky.

If it gets worse, though, do go to the doctor. It may seem like an imposition, but you need to make sure you get the help you need before you develop something even less pleasant.
posted by brina at 6:45 AM on January 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Took me the best part of last month to get over the flu. Medicine isn't magic. If you don't have a humidifier, sweat your head over a basin of boiling water, it'll help with the sinus pain.
posted by bonaldi at 7:34 AM on January 22, 2007


You'll get lots of anecdotal responses to how the flu affects people differently in this thread. For example, I'm a pretty healthy dude and the flu knocked me on my ass for 2+ weeks last month. Seriously, you need to rest and then slowly ramp up on regular activities as you begin to feel better. Don't overdo it.
posted by quadog at 12:21 PM on January 22, 2007

Check out drugs.com to see what medicines you are taking. I ran the imprints through real quick, but didn't come up with anything that matched. You may have better luck with the "identify by shape/color" wizard.

You can also try the Catholic Healthcare West pill wizard.

Possibly, however, you may be getting some herbal medicine pills that won't be listed anywhere but in some obscure Korean database. When I got sick in China, they loved "prescribing" herbal medicine (along with over-the-counter type stuff, like the Tylenol you got), and I believe it's the same in Korea.

Good luck, hope you feel better...
posted by gemmy at 3:55 PM on January 22, 2007

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