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

Answer From Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.

You can drink fluids, rest at home and take pain medicine available without a prescription to recover from the flu at home.

Flu symptoms often begin one or two days after you come in contact with the virus that causes influenza. The symptoms may seem to hit you suddenly. Among otherwise healthy people, flu symptoms vary. Symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, fever, chills and muscle aches.

Flu symptoms can make you feel awful. But if you're otherwise healthy, not pregnant and younger than age 65, you can generally take care of yourself at home rather than going to a health care professional.

Try these remedies:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. This includes water, warm soup and drinks that contain minerals, called rehydration solutions.
  • Rest. You may need to change or cancel some of your activities depending on your symptoms.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others). These medicines can help lower fever and help with muscle aches or headache.

    Don't give products containing aspirin to children or teens recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms. Aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in those situations.

Stay home from work, school or other public places for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without use of fever-reducing medicine. This helps stop the spread of the virus that causes flu.

Most people feel better within a week of becoming infected with the flu virus. But coughing may last for another one or two weeks.


Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.

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Jan. 09, 2024 See more Expert Answers