Most of the time, people can take care of the flu at home:

  • Stay home and rest. Get lots of sleep.
  • Stay away from other people and avoid spreading your germs. Wash your hands, clean common areas and take these other steps to avoid spreading your germs.
  • Drink lots of fluids: Prevent dehydration, drink clear fluids such as water, broth or sports drinks.
  • For your headache, muscles aches and fever, you can take over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol©) or ibuprofen (for example, Advil©). Children and teens should not take aspirin (ASA or acetylsalicylic acid). If you're not sure what to take, call a pharmacist.

If you have asthma, follow the advice in your asthma action plan. If you have COPD, follow the advice in your COPD action plan (PDF). You may have to take extra medicine to control your symptoms.

If you don't know how to treat your asthma or COPD, or if your symptoms are out of control, see your doctor. 

If it's hard to breathe or your rescue medicine isn't working, call 911 or your local emergency number.

  • Watch for warning signs of severe flu. If you have these warning signs, get emergency help right away.
  • Call your doctor if you are not improving after a few days.

Medication for the Flu

There are two antiviral prescription medications available for treating flu: Oseltamivir and Zanamivir. These medications have been shown to reduce flu symptoms if started within the first few days of getting sick.
Not everyone will be given antiviral medication, it is recommended for people with severe illness, people who require hospitalization and people who are at high risk of complications including:

  • Children younger than 2 years
  • Adults 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with chronic diseases including asthma and COPD, or people with a weakened immune system.
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Page Last Updated: 20/11/2014