The flu can make someone feel pretty miserable for up to a week, but it usually won't need medical treatment unless a person develops complications.
Some people are at high risk for serious complications if they get the flu, including children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, people with asthma, and those with weakened immune systems. If they get the flu and their symptoms are reported within the first 2 days of the illness, a doctor might prescribe an antiviral medicine. But these medicines usually only shorten the course of the infection by 1 or 2 days.
If your doctor prescribes medicine to ease symptoms, be sure to call the pharmacist before you go to pick it up. The flu can strongly affect many areas of the United States, so some pharmacies might have trouble keeping the medicines in stock.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: September 2014
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|CDC: Flu (Influenza) The CDC's site has up-to-date information on flu outbreaks, immunizations, symptoms, prevention, and more.|
|Flu Center The flu can make you sick for a week or more. Find out how to get protected from the influenza virus.|
|Is It a Cold or the Flu? Your child is sent home from school with a sore throat, cough, and high fever - could it be the flu that's been going around? Or is it just a common cold? Find out here!|
|The Flu: Should You Go to School? Stay home or go to school? That's what you are probably wondering if you have the flu. Find out more.|
|Flu Center Get the basics on how flu spreads and how to protect yourself.|
|Flu Center Learn all about protecting your family from the flu and what to do if your child gets flu-like symptoms.|
|Flu The flu is a virus that can make you sick for a week or longer. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|5 Ways to Fight the Flu Get tips for fending off the flu in this article for teens.|
|The Flu: Stop the Spread Follow these tips to help prevent the spread of the flu.|
|Influenza (Flu) Flu symptoms tend to develop quickly and are usually more severe than the typical sneezing and stuffiness of a cold. Yearly vaccination is the best protection against the flu.|
|Flu Facts Every year from October to May, millions of people across the United States come down with the flu. Get the facts on the flu - including how to avoid it.|
|First Aid: The Flu Telltale signs of the flu include a sore throat, body aches and fever. Here's what to do if your child has the flu.|
|Is the Flu Vaccine a Good Idea for Your Family? The flu itself generally isn't dangerous, but its complications can be. That's why it's important for you and your doctor to determine whether your family can and should get the flu vaccine.|
|Too Late for the Flu Vaccine? The flu vaccine is usually offered between September and mid-November. Even though it's best to get it then, being vaccinated later can still help protect against the flu.|
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