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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Ibuprofen or acetaminophen? When the flu strikes, choose either one

What’s best for the flu? Take your pick.

Flu season is here and warning flags are flying. The Fredericksburg area has been mostly spared so far, but other parts of the country are reporting unusual numbers of flu cases for early December.

“It looks like it’s shaping up to be a bad flu season, but only time will tell,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Associated Press this week.

So if you get the flu and you’re not one of those folks who’s at high risk from complications, what’s the best way to ease the pain? Two local doctors this week said the preferred treatment is bed rest, fever control and lots of fluid. “Just like grandma said,” said Dr. Edward Walsh, medical director for the emergency department at Mary Washington Hospital.

Walsh and Dr. Brooke Rossheim, director of the Rappahannock Area Health District, also said they had no preference between ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help with the fever and muscle aches.   “I use them both, every three hours, alternating between the two,” Walsh said.

(For more on the local and national flu seasons so far, see the story in Sunday’s Healthy Living section. One of the most closely watched websites this time of year is the CDC’s Fluview, here, with its weekly updates. The site also has some interesting maps. It’s updated each Friday.)