5 Influenza (Flu) Nursing Care Plans

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Influenza (also known as flu, or grippe) is an acute inflammation of the nasopharynx, trachea, and bronchioles, with congestion, edema, and the possibility of necrosis of these respiratory structures. Influenza is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract caused by three different types of Myxovirus influenzae. It occurs sporadically or in epidemics which peaks usually during colder months.

Nursing Care Plans

Unless complications occur, influenza doesn’t require hospitalization and patient care usually focuses on the relief of symptoms.

Here are six (5) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis (NDx) for Influenza (Flu):

  1. Ineffective Airway Clearance
  2. Ineffective Breathing Pattern
  3. Hyperthermia
  4. Acute Pain
  5. Deficient Knowledge
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Ineffective Breathing Pattern

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Inflammation from viral infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Hemorrhagic bronchitis

Possibly evidenced by

  • Coughing
  • Tachypnea
  • Hemoptysis
  • Cyanosis
  • Dyspnea
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Diaphoresis
  • Fatigue
  • Leukopenia
  • Sputum
  • Warm flushed skin
  • Erythema to tonsils, soft and hard palate and pharyngeal wall
  • Abnormal chest X-rays

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will achieve and maintain normal respiratory pattern and rate, with no adventitious breath sounds to auscultation.
  • Patient will be able to expectorate secretions effectively.
  • Patient will maintain and adhere to isolation precautions.
  • Patient will be able to utilize relaxation techniques to improve pain and facilitate breathing.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess vital signs, carefully monitoring respiratory status for baseline rate, rhythm, and character, and notify the physician or significant changes. Changes may reflect early signs of respiratory compromise and insufficiency.
Monitor pulse oximetry readings and notify the physician if <90% Oximetry approximates arterial blood gas oxygen saturation and helps to identify oxygenation dysfunction and respiratory status changes.
Auscultate breath sounds every 2-4 hours and as needed. Notify physician of changes. Assists with the identification of changes in respiratory status, the presence of adventitious breath sounds or decreased breath sounds. The elderly patient may have infiltrates in the interstitium, bilateral lobes, and anterior and lower lung fields.
Administer oxygen as ordered. Provides supplemental oxygen and helps alleviate respiratory distress caused by hypoxemia.
Assess patient for complaints of pain and medicate as needed. Pain decreases respiratory effort and chest excursion, which decreases ventilation and perfusion. Analgesia relieves pain and promotes improved respiratory effort.
Encourage patient to maintain semi-Fowler’s or high Fowler’s position as tolerated. Promotes chest expansion and enhances respiratory effort.
Encourage patient and assist with the use of incentive spirometry, nebulizers, etc., as ordered Assists to prevent atelectasis or lung collapse and ensure proper use of equipment.
Perform chest physiotherapy, chest percussion, and postural drainage as ordered. Helps improve airway clearance and respiratory effort. Helps clear secretions.
Encourage patient to change position every 2 hours and as needed, and assist as needed. Facilitate comfort and mobilizes pulmonary secretions.
Provide and encourage fluid intake of at least 2 L/day unless contraindicated. Maintain hydration and helps to liquefy secretions to enable patients to expectorate sputum.
Maintain ordered isolation techniques. Prevents cross contamination and exposure to pathogens.
Instruct patient and/or SO regarding isolation requirements and ensure that they adhere to the proper techniques. Provides knowledge, decreases fear and helps prevent further spread of infection.
Teach the patient how to use a pillow to split chest with cough efforts. Assists to reduce pain associated with cough.
Instruct patient in relaxation techniques, guided imagery, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises. Assist in pain reduction and alleviates anxiety which may improve respiratory effort and oxygenation.
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See Also

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Communicable and Infectious Diseases Care Plans


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Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.

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