What can I do at home to recover from the flu?

Answers from James M. Steckelberg, M.D.

Flu symptoms typically begin one or two days after your exposure to the virus and may seem to hit you suddenly. Among healthy people, flu symptoms vary in severity. Signs and symptoms range from a sore throat and runny nose to fever, chills and muscle aches.

Flu symptoms can make you feel awful, but if you're otherwise healthy and you're not pregnant, take care of yourself at home rather than going to your doctor. Try these remedies:

  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to reduce fever and muscle aches. Don't give products containing aspirin to children or young adults recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms, as these drugs have been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.
  • Drink clear fluids, such as water, broth or sports drinks.
  • Rest as long as you continue to feel tired, and sleep as much as you can.
Aug. 22, 2013 See more Expert Answers