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Flu Treatment

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Which flu treatment should I take to lower my fever and body aches?

Children should avoid aspirin. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or medicines like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) are over-the-counter options for fever and pain relief. Each medication has risks. Check with your doctor or pharmacist as to which medication may be suitable for you.

Be careful not to overdose! These drugs are often mixed in with other multi-symptom cold and flu remedies you may also be taking. They may also be ingredients in other prescription medicines you may be taking. Your pharmacist can help you check for drug ingredients and interactions.

Which flu treatment is best for my sore throat?

Drinking lots of fluids and using salt water gargles (made by combining a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of salt) can often be helpful for easing the pain of a sore throat. Over-the-counter pain relievers and medicated lozenges and gargles can also temporarily soothe a sore throat. Get your doctor's approval before using any medications, including over-the-counter drugs, and don't use lozenges or gargles for more than a few days. The medications could mask signs of strep throat, a bacterial infection that should be treated with antibiotics.

Is an antiviral drug a commonly used flu treatment?

Antiviral flu drugs are taken to decrease the severity and duration of flu symptoms. In some cases they may be used to prevent flu. They are best taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, but they may still offer benefits if taken later. Talk to your doctor about your health situation because most antivirals do have side effects.

What are the recommended antiviral drugs for children?

At the first sign of flu symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether antiviral drugs might benefit your child. These flu drugs can help a child get better sooner and may prevent serious flu complications.  

Antivirals work best when taken during the first two days of illness. However, the drugs can still help when given more than 48 hours after symptoms start.

Can antibiotics help my flu symptoms?

Antibiotics cannot help flu symptoms. The flu is caused by a virus, and antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics needlessly may increase your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment. If you get a secondary bacterial infection with the flu virus, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the secondary infection.

For more information, see Flu Treatment: Antibiotics or Not?

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on November 18, 2013
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