Treatment of Influenza (Flu)

Once you have got the flu the best thing to do is to stay at home, have a rest and drink plenty of liquid - water or tea. If you don’t take care of yourself, it may take much longer time for recovery, or you may develop serious complications.

The Influenza virus usually starts like a common cold with a sore throat and runny nose. Then your temperature rises above 38C /100F and you may feel muscle aches. As soon as the accute symptoms occur, you should stay in bed and treat the symptoms if necessary.

Unfortunately, there are no medicines that can help to cure Influenza. Those remedies that are available over the counter in pharmacies, can only relieve the symptoms, but they do not kill the virus.

Aspirin, which is commonly used against fever, is not recommended for use in children under 16, as it may lead to a liver disease called Reye’s syndrome.

Antibiotics are usually not prescribed as they have no effect on the Influenza viruses. However, if you have complications, such as pneumonia, antibiotics might be necessary.

Antiviral medicines, drugs that do not interfere with a virus, but treat the symptos and shorten the time of recovery, are usually prescribed to elderly people, or those who have weak immune system and serious diseases.

Antiviral medicines include:

  • Amantadine
  • Rimantadine
  • Oseltamivir
  • Zanamivir

Amantadine and Rimantadine can be used in treatment of Influenza type A only, while Oseltamivir and Zanamivir can fight against both influenza types A and B.

It is also important to know that antiviral medicines may have various side effects, including insomnia, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea.


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