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What is the best way to get rid of the flu?

ANSWER

Although flu vaccines can prevent certain strains, there's not much you can do after you get sick. If you take them within 48 hours after symptoms start, drugs like oseltamivir (Tamiflu), peramivir (Rapivab), and zanamivir (Relenza) may ease some symptoms. You can also:

  • Take over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to relieve body aches, headache, and fever.
  • Take over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants to help with congestion.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest.

SOURCES: Hayden, F. and Ison, M. 2006. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Flu." American Lung Association: "Cold and Flu Guidelines: Influenza." American Academy of Family Physicians: "The Flu and Colds: Tips on Feeling Better." National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke: "Reye's Syndrome." Medline Plus: "Common Cold," "Flu." CDC: "Seasonal Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations in the United States." NPR: "How Many People Die From Flu Each Year? Depends How You Slice The Data."







ACP Medicine

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 17, 2017

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

SOURCES: Hayden, F. and Ison, M. 2006. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Flu." American Lung Association: "Cold and Flu Guidelines: Influenza." American Academy of Family Physicians: "The Flu and Colds: Tips on Feeling Better." National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke: "Reye's Syndrome." Medline Plus: "Common Cold," "Flu." CDC: "Seasonal Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations in the United States." NPR: "How Many People Die From Flu Each Year? Depends How You Slice The Data."







ACP Medicine

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 17, 2017

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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