Ways To Treat Flu Symptoms And Feel Better
If youâre searching the web for flu treatment, you probably arenât feeling too well right about now. Hereâs the bad news: thereâs no cure for it and it usually lasts for one to two weeks. And just because you have the flu doesnât mean you wonât get it again, since there are many different strains of the flu virus. The good news? Just because there is no cure does not mean there is no way to feel better when you have the flu. There are several over-the-counter medicines available to you to help you combat the symptoms you feel while you are sick with the flu. And some medicines treat multiple symptoms in a single product.
Hereâs 10 ways to treat flu symptoms at home so you can get relief while your body fights the virus.
When you first come down with the flu, rest is what will help give your body the energy it needs to fight the flu virus and flu symptoms, which is why rest is one of the go-to recommendations for people suffering from the flu.1
Stay at home and rest, especially during the first 24 hours after becoming ill.
Consuming enough fluids is another regularly recommended practice for people who have the flu.1 Fever, a common flu symptom, is associated with dehydration, so it is important to get adequate amounts of water or other fluids to ensure that you stay hydrated while you have the flu.2
When Do I Call The Doctor About Flu Antiviral Drugs
Ideally, you should talk to your doctor about the flu vaccine and antiviral drugs, including side effects, before the flu season begins.
When you do get flu symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor soon after symptoms appear. Flu drugs are most effective when taken within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms, although they may help prevent severe disease when taken later.
American Academy of Family Physicians: “Tips for Treating the Flu.” American Lung Association: “Influenza Fact Sheet.” Mayo Clinic: “Flu Shot: Your best shot for avoiding influenza.” CDC: “Good Health Habits for Prevention ” “Key Facts About Antiviral Drugs and Influenza and “Seasonal Influenza: What You Should Know about Flu Antiviral Drugs.” UpToDate: Antiviral Drugs for the Treatment of Influenza in Adults. FDA: “FDA approves Rapivab to treat flu infection.”
When Are Antiviral Drugs Recommended
Antiviral drugs are recommended for both treatment and prevention of flu. Antiviral drugs work best when taken within 48 hours of onset of flu symptoms, but they may still offer benefits when taken later. These medications may reduce the duration of flu by one to two days and prevent severe flu complications.
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Is Tamiflu Available Over The Counter
Tamiflu isnt currently available to purchase over the counter . However, one drug manufacturer is currently working with the Food and Drug Administration to make Tamiflu available OTC.
The FDA has specific requirements that must be met before a drug can be sold OTC. This includes testing to make sure the drug can be purchased and used safely without a prescription. While the drug manufacturer works on meeting those requirements, Tamiflu is only available by prescription. It could be several years before Tamiflu is available to purchase over the counter.
The Tamiflu dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- whether youre using Tamiflu to either treat or prevent influenza
- your age
- the form of Tamiflu you take
- other medical conditions you may have
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.
How Long Does It Take To Work
Its difficult to say how long it takes for Tamiflu to work, because the drug works differently in different people. How quickly Tamiflu will work for you depends on whether youre using the drug to treat or prevent influenza. It also depends on other factors, such as your age and overall health.
If you have flu symptoms, the sooner you begin taking Tamiflu, the quicker youll start feeling better.
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Can Colds And The Flu Be Cured With Medications
No medicines can “cure” colds and flu. However, there are many over-the-counter medicines that can ease the discomfort caused by the symptoms of colds and flu. In addition, there are prescription medicines and a vaccine that can treat and prevent the flu.
Note on antibiotics: Colds and the flu are causes by viruses and cannot be cured with antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as strep throat and ear, skin and urinary tract infections. Using antibiotics for infections they are not able to treat makes the antibiotics less effective for infections they are supposed to treat . Never take antibiotics to treat colds and flu.
To ease the discomfort from specific cold and flu symptoms, consider using the following types of OTC medicines:
What Antiviral Drugs Are Recommended This Flu Season
There are four FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by CDC to treat flu this season.
- oseltamivir phosphate ,
- baloxavir marboxil .
Generic oseltamivirexternal icon and Tamiflu® are available as a pill or liquid suspension and are FDA approved for early treatment of flu in people 14 days and older. Zanamivir is a powder that is inhaled and approved for early treatment of flu in people 7 years and older. is administered using an inhaler device and is not recommended for people with breathing problems like asthma or COPD.) Oseltamivir and zanamivir are given twice a day for 5 days. Peramivir is given once intravenously by a health care provider and is approved for early treatment of flu in people 2 years and older. Baloxavir is a pill given as a single dose by mouth and is approved for early treatment of flu in people 12 years and older. is not recommended for pregnant people, breastfeeding people, outpatients with complicated or progressive illness, or hospitalized patients because there is no information about use of baloxavir in these patients.)
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Vitamins And Supplements To Fight Cold And Flu
If you believe you might have a flu virus, you should see your physician as soon as possible to be tested and to determine a course of action for healing and recovery. In fact, even if you just have a cold , its worth a discussion with your physician or even a pharmacist to get proper guidance on any of these:
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. The first dose should be taken within 48 hours of when symptoms started.
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What Should I Do If I Forget A Dose
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is no longer than 2 hours before your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. If you miss several doses, call your doctor for directions. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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If You Have Difficulty Swallowing Capsules Your Doctor May Tell You To Open The Capsule And Mix The Contents With A Sweetened Liquid To Prepare Doses Of Oseltamivir For People Who Cannot Swallow The Capsules:
Continue to take oseltamivir until you finish the prescription, even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking oseltamivir without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking oseltamivir too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be fully treated, or you may not be protected from the flu.
If you feel worse or develop new symptoms while taking oseltamivir, or if your flu symptoms do not start to get better, call your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Does Tamiflu Treat Bacterial Infections
No, Tamiflu doesnt work to treat infections caused by bacteria. Tamiflu contains the active drug oseltamivir, which belongs to a class of antiviral drugs called influenza neuraminidase inhibitors. These drugs target the influenza virus and prevent it from multiplying inside your body. This helps your immune system to fight off the infection.
Some bacterial infections can cause the same symptoms as the influenza virus does. But Tamiflu isnt effective to treat bacterial infections.
If you think you have a bacterial infection, talk with your doctor about your treatment options. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics that are effective to treat your infection.
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Tamiflu And Flu Vaccines
There are two types of flu vaccines: inactive and live .
If you receive the live influenza vaccine while youre taking Tamiflu, it may be less effective to protect you from the flu. This is because the antiviral drug contained in Tamiflu will attack and kill the live virus given to you in the vaccine.
However, you may be able to receive the inactive flu vaccine, which does not contain live virus, while youre taking Tamiflu.
If you have the flu, or youre taking Tamiflu, talk with your doctor about your options for receiving a flu vaccination.
Cold And Flu Medications Pose Risks For Those With High Blood Pressure
Purchasing over-the-counter medications is a quick and easy way to relieve the daily coughing, sneezing, and aching that accompanies that pesky cold or flu.
All medications, however, carry risks of side effects and bad interactions, even over-the-counter meds. This warning is particularly specific to those suffering from high blood pressure.
You may want to steer clear of some of these over-the-counter meds as they can increase blood pressure and interfere with blood pressure medication. Common medications that can affect blood pressure levels are decongestants, pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Studies show that most people have a minimal increase in blood pressure after taking common cold meds and decongestants. If you have high blood pressure, try a cold or flu medication that is free of decongestants.
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Do Antiviral Drugs For Flu Have Side Effects
Side effects of antivirals may include nausea, vomiting, runny nose, stuffy nose, cough, diarrhea, and behavioral changes. Zanamivir is not recommended for individuals who have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , or other lung disease. Based on your individual health status, your doctor will prescribe the antiviral drug that’s safest for you.
Vitamins And Supplements For Cold And Flu Season
The 2019-20 cold and flu season has already been one of the more intense ones in recent history in terms of duration and numbers of cases. As April has arrived, it appeared that the spread of cold and flu was still was affecting many Americans, most notably various strains of influenza.
At the same time, millions of people have been stocking up more than usual on items such as food, bath tissue, hand sanitizers and medications in anticipation of longer-than-usual home stays, otherwise known as self-quarantining. In terms of what we stock, though and this should never involve hoarding its important to remember that abundant inventory of food you gather should be healthful, i.e., conducive to bolstering your immune system.
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Cold And Flu Medicine
You can purchase a variety of products at your local drugstore to help combat the symptoms of cold, cough, and flu. Cough syrups can coat your throat and keep coughing to a minimum. Certain cough syrups also contain an expectorant, and ingredient that will help to loosen chest congestion. Antibiotics will not help with cold or flu since they are not effective against the cold and flu virus. You can find cold, cough, and flu remedies over the counter that can relieve pain, reduce fever, and help you sleep until your body heals.
When you look for treatments, make sure they contain ingredients that will not cause an allergic reaction. Some cold and cough medications contain ingredients that increase the heart rate and are not recommended for patients with high blood pressure. Always read the ingredient label and the dosage directions before you buy a treatment for cold, cough, and flu. If your fever does not break or your symptoms continue to persist, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Which Flu Treatment Should I Take To Lower My Fever And Body Aches
Children under 19 should avoid aspirin. Acetaminophen or medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen 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.
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Which Flu Treatment Works Best For My Cough
An occasional cough may clear the lung of pollutants and excess phlegm. A persistent cough should be diagnosed and treated specifically. On the pharmacy shelf, you’ll find numerous cough medicines with various combinations of decongestants, antihistamines, analgesics/antipyretics, cough suppressants, and expectorants. Ask your pharmacist which combination, if any, would be appropriate for your cough.Ã Some research suggests that honey may help suppress a cough- but do not use in anyone under the age of one as it may cause a type of food poisoning called botulism in younger children.
What Are The Benefits Of Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral treatment works best when started soon after flu illness begins. When treatment is started within two days of becoming sick with flu symptoms, antiviral drugs can lessen fever and flu symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by about one day. They also may reduce the risk of complications such as ear infections in children, respiratory complications requiring antibiotics, and hospitalization in adults. For people at higher risk of serious flu complications, early treatment with an antiviral drug can mean having milder illness instead of more severe illness that might require a hospital stay. For adults hospitalized with flu illness, some studies have reported that early antiviral treatment can reduce their risk of death.
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What Are Flu Antiviral Drugs
Flu antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight against flu viruses in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over the counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from a health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.
Combination Cough And Cold Medicines
Cough and cold medicines are often used for symptom relief however its important to know there is not enough evidence showing they work well, particularly in children.
Cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under 6. You should ask a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner for advice before giving cough and cold medicines to children aged 6 to 11 years.
Cough and cold medicines often contain paracetamol, so it is important to check the label to avoid doubling up and taking other medicines that also contain paracetamol.
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Alternatives For Treatment Of Influenza
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat the flu include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every person ages 6 months and older who is healthy enough to get a flu vaccine get one. Getting vaccinated helps to prevent influenza infections and spreading the virus between people.
Most flu vaccines are given by injection . However, the FluMist vaccine is given as a nasal spray. The CDC recommends that you receive a flu vaccine each year. Talk with your doctor for more information about the different types of vaccines, and to schedule a time to get your flu vaccine.
You may wonder how Tamiflu compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Tamiflu and Xofluza are alike and different.
Which Antiviral Drugs Are Recommended For Both Treatment And Prevention Of The Flu
The CDC recommends the antiviral drugs baloxavir marboxil , oseltamivir , and zanamivir for both flu prevention and treatment..
Baloxavir marboxil is taken orally and is approved for use in treatment of children 12 years of age and older.
Oseltamivir, which is taken by mouth, is approved for treating flu in those over 2 weeks of age and preventing flu in people one year of age and older.
Peramivir, given in one intravenous dose, is approved for people over the age of 2 for treatment only.
Zanamivir is approved for treating flu in people 7 years and older and for preventing flu in people 5 years and older. Relenza is inhaled through the mouth.
All four antivirals are most effective when given within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, although they may still prevent severe flu complications when given more than 48 hours after symptoms appear.
For in-depth information, see WebMD’s Flu Prevention Strategies.
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