Influenza A; Influenza B
HOW DO I TREAT MY SYMPTOMS?
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) help lower fever. Sometimes doctors suggest you use both types of medicine. Do NOT use aspirin.
A fever does not need to come all the way down to normal. Most people will feel better when their temperature drops by even 1 degree.
Over-the-counter cold medicines may make some of your symptoms better. Cough drops will help with your sore throat.
Click here to see a video about tips on buying cold and flu medicines.
You also need a lot of rest. Drink plenty of liquids. Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
WHAT ABOUT ANTIVIRAL MEDICATIONS?
Most people with milder symptoms feel better in 3 - 4 days. They do not need to see a doctor or take antiviral medications.
Doctors may give antiviral drugs to people who get very sick. People who are at high risk for problems from the flu may need these medicines.
These medicines may shorten the time you have symptoms by about 1 day. They work better if you start taking them within 2 days of your first symptoms.
Children at risk of a severe case of the flu may also need these medicines.
Millions of people in the United States get the flu each year. Most get better within a week or two.
But thousands become sick. They need to stay in the hospital. About 36,000 people die each year of problems from the flu.
Anyone at any age can have serious complications from the flu. Those at highest risk include:
In most people who are healthy, the flu goes away within 7 - 10 days.
Possible complications, especially for those at high risk, include:
Call your health care provider if you get the flu and are at riks of having problems from it. Also call your doctor if your illness seems very bad.
Jefferson T, Jones M, Doshi P, Del Mar C. Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2009 Dec 8;339:b5106.
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