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Flu in Adults (cont.)

What Is the Treatment for Flu in Adults?

Treatments for flu (influenza) include home remedies such as resting in bed, avoiding physical exertion, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco use. Hydration is important, and minor aches and pains can be relived with over-the-counter (OTC) medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve). Avoid spreading germs and the flu virus by washing hands often or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Stay away from others until you are fever free for 24 hours. Cover sneezes or coughs with the inside of your elbow, or use a tissue and throw it away promptly.

Medical treatment for the flu include medications (antiviral drugs) prescribed to decrease the severity and duration of the infection. These drugs include the class known as neuraminidase inhibitors such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

To avoid resistance to antibiotics when they are truly needed, antibiotics are only prescribed when there is evidence of a bacterial infection, such as pneumonia. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections such as the flu, and they do not prevent bacterial infections that may occur because of the flu.

What Are Home Remedies for Flu in Adults?

Patient Comments
  • Rest in bed. Avoid physical exertion. Avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, fruit juices, and clear soups (like chicken soup). Water should never be the sole or main liquid consumed because it does not contain adequate electrolytes (sodium and potassium, for example) that the body requires. Commercially available products such as Gatorade and other similar sports drinks can be useful in this regard. For children, ORS (oral rehydration solution) packets are another good way to replenish the body. A similar rehydrating solution can be made at home using salt, sugar, and plain or rice water. Adding some orange juice and mashed bananas enhances the taste and also provides a good source of potassium. Such a solution can be used by anyone, regardless of age.
  • Treat fever and aches with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn).
    • Caution: For children younger than 16 years of age with symptoms of flu or cold, aspirin should not be used because of its association with Reye's syndrome, which can cause liver and brain damage.
  • Use cough suppressants and expectorants to treat the cough.
  • Cough and sneeze into a soft tissue or handkerchief. Carefully dispose of tissues after using them.
  • Stay away from who are well until you have not had fever for 24 hours.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/24/2017

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Flu in Adults:

Flu in Adults - Treatment

What treatments and medications helped to alleviate your flu symptoms?

Flu in Adults - Home Remedies

Please describe your home remedies for the flu.

Flu in Adults - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Influenza »

Influenza virus infection, one of the most common infectious diseases, is a highly contagious airborne disease that causes an acute febrile illness and results in variable degrees of systemic symptoms, ranging from mild fatigue to respiratory failure and death.

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