Standard Flu Treatment
Rest is important to help you get better. Plus, if you stay home, there's less risk that you'll give the flu to other people. Flu continues to be contagious for three to four days after symptoms appear.
The following may help you minimize flu symptoms:
- Take one of the new antiviral drugs, Tamiflu or Relenza. Either medication is taken twice a day for five days. They must be taken within 48 hours from the time symptoms appear to be effective. Tamiflu is approved for individuals older than age 18 and Relenza is approved for anyone older than age 12. Side effects associated with Tamiflu and Relenza were shown to be mild in clinical testing. Some people taking Tamiflu may experience nausea and, less commonly, vomiting. Relenza may cause nasal irritation in some people.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Hot liquids may relieve the feeling of congestion and loosen phlegm.
- Take a pain reliever, like acetaminophen, for aches and fever.
- Take a cough suppressant for relief from a dry, hacking cough when trying to sleep. A cough that produces mucus or phlegm is not usually a symptom of flu, but it is a symptom of a cold or other illness. If you have a productive cough along with your flu symptoms, you may have developed a secondary infection that needs to be treated by a health care professional. Coughs that produce mucus and phlegm should not be suppressed because it is important to expel these substances.
- Use a humidifier or steamer to help ease congestion.