Flu treatment for kids

Natural Remedies For Cold and Flu

The flu and the common cold are extremely prevalent in the later months of the year.

It’s important to use natural remedies that help your body naturally get rid of a cold or flu.

Your body can recover faster if the tools you use are natural solutions.

Take Vitamin C to Naturally Get Rid of a Cold or Flu

You can consume Vitamin C in many ways, but you should increase your dose to aid your immune system during times of stress. An adult can consume up to 2,000 mg per day safely.

Foods containing vitamin C include:

  • Oranges
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Grapefruit
  • Cauliflower
  • Chili pepper
  • Broccoli

Garlic Helps Get Rid of a Cold or Flu Naturally

Garlic contains many natural compounds that can aid in boosting immunity.

The compound known as allicin works to help your body prevent the common cold.

Slicing some into food or even biting on a glove of garlic can help clear sinuses and boost immunity.

Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help Shorten Your Cold or Flu’s Duration

You can naturally shorten a cold or flu by consuming apple cider vinegar in water, a few spoonfuls at a time.

This has a detoxication effect that can help the body function with more ease. It can be extra effective when paired with echinacea.

Apple cider vinegar plays a big role in my book.

Oregano Oil Naturally Helps Your Body Get Rid of A Cold or flu.

Consuming oregano oil can help your body naturally cleanse and defend itself against germs.

It contains natural cleansing elements to help facilitate healing in the body.

It is considered safe to consume up to four drops of oregano oil at once. Try placing a few drops into some coconut oil and rub into the bottom of your feet.

Naturally Get Rid of a Cold or Flu With Elderberry Syrup.

Elderberry syrup has been used for centuries to combat illness. The natural antioxidants within the berries help alleviate excess mucus, and the vitamin C and beta-carotene help the body recover strength.

Elderberry syrup is extremely easy to make at home. I recommend the recipe from Real Food RN, which contains ginger root and natural honey. Both are natural immunity booster.

Learn more about natural solutions for illness and more with Natural Solutions For Cleaning & Wellness. Pick up your copy today!

Want More Ways To Cure A Cold or Flu FAST?

This video introduces the most common ways to get rid of a cold or flu using natural solutions:

How to Get Rid of a Cold In 24 Hours

Photo: Maskot/Getty Images​

When the first cold symptoms strike, pulling the covers over your head and praying to the decongestant gods can feel like your only options. But you don’t have to resign to weeks of feeling lousy. Knowing how to get rid of a cold fast can shorten your sickness. We asked experts for the fastest way to get rid of a cold. Follow these tips after the first sniffle or sneeze, and you’ll bounce back to your healthy self in just 24 hours—we promise. (Plus, you can try these 10 Home Remedies for Cold and Flu.)

7 a.m. Step into a hot shower.

It can be hard to drag yourself out of bed when you wake up with aches and sniffles, but a steamy shower can clear the stuffiness that gets exacerbated from sleeping flat all night. The mist and humidity help loosen mucus and clear your sinuses so you can breathe easier, says E. Neil Schachter, M.D., author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Cold and Flu. (Not that there isn’t a case to make for cold showers too.)

8 a.m. Take two teaspoons of elderberry syrup.

Hit up a health food store for elderberry syrup if you’re trying to get rid of the common cold. It’s made from elderberries, which have anti-viral properties and boost the immune system, says Heather Jeney, an integrated pediatrician in Oradell, NJ. Take 2 teaspoons of the syrup up to three times a day to lessen the intensity and duration of a cold or flu. Bonus: This also works as a preventative measure if you’ve been exposed to someone sick (think: your snotty toddler or your sneezing seatmate on your commute).

9 a.m. Skip cereal and coffee in favor of eggs and tea.

Simply eating a different breakfast might help with getting rid of a cold. Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids-important since protein ups the body’s ability to fight infection, studies show. Pair your omelet with a steaming cup of tea with lemon and honey. Honey works better than a prescription cough syrup at easing a cough by coating the back of the throat,” says Zeyed Baker, M.D., chief pediatric officer at Riverside Medical Group in Secaucus, NJ. (We’ve got 20 Quick and Easy Ways to Cook Eggs for you.)

12: 30 p.m. Sprinkle your salad with chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.

Both toppings are good sources of zinc—a nutrient that helps boost your body’s response to infection and reduce inflammation. There’s evidence that shows that taking zinc within the 24 hours of a cold will help shorten the duration and intensity, Schachtner says. Alternatively, stop into a drug store for zinc lozenges and suck on two a day until your cold subsides.

2 p.m. Refill your water bottle.

Water bottle probably doesn’t come to mind when you’re contemplating how to get rid of a cold. But hydration is crucial when you’re fighting off an illness since a low-grade fever increases the amount of liquid that evaporates from the body, putting you at a higher risk for dehydration. Moreover, getting adequate fluids helps your body wash away mucus that accumulates in nose and throat, Schachter says. Make it a point to drink two more cups than you normally consume (tea and soups count toward your daily quota!). (And watch out for these 5 Signs of Dehydration-Besides the Color of Your Pee.)

3 p.m. Take a walk.

When you’re dragging, a 20-minute stroll around the block can lift your energy and help your symptoms. Moderate exercising like walking can help stimulate deep breaths and open your nasal passages so you can breathe easier. Exercise, too, increases the number of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, which helps control the immune system, according to a study in the journal Gut.

6:30 p.m. Sip on chicken soup.

Your mom was on to something when she said that sipping chicken soup was the best way to get rid of a cold: The vapor and ingredients in chicken soup can suppress chemicals that cause inflammation in the body, Schachter says. Even if you can’t get your hands on mom’s homemade version, plain old canned soup works just as good as homemade in helping fight off the cold, a study published in the journal Chest found.

9 p.m. Clear your nose and throat.

Mucus that doesn’t drain can fester during the night and cause an infection, so it’s crucial to de-gunk pre-bedtime. Use a saline rinse or saltwater gargle to draw out fluid and bacteria, Schachter says.

10 p.m. Hit the sack.

Staying up to catch up on late-night TV is not the best way to get rid of a cold. Your body needs at least seven hours to shut-eye to fend off sickness, one study found. (It’s why sleep should be your no. 1 priority for flu season.) To sleep soundly when you’re stuffy, add an extra pillow to raise your head higher. This helps the sinuses drain to keep your nasal passages open and clear, Schachter says.

  • By Nicole Yorio Jurick

Tips for Treating the Flu

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What Is the Flu?

The flu (influenza) is a very contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs). The flu can make someone feel pretty sick for up to a week.

Who Gets the Flu?

Anyone can get the flu, but kids tend to get it more often than adults. Some very young children or kids with health problems can get very sick and need special care.

How Is the Flu Treated?

The flu usually doesn’t need need medical treatment. But some people are at high risk for other health problems (such as pneumonia) from the flu. They include:

  • children younger than 5 years old
  • pregnant women
  • people with asthma
  • people with weaken immune systems

If they report flu symptoms 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.

How Can I Help My Child?

If your child gets the flu:

  • Offer plenty of liquids. Fever, which is common with the flu, can lead to dehydration. Offer plain water, ice pops, icy drinks mixed in a blender, and soft fruits (like melons or grapes).
  • Encourage your child to rest in bed or on the couch with a supply of magazines, books, quiet music, and perhaps a favorite movie.
  • Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for aches and pains. (Do not give aspirin unless your doctor tells you to. It has been linked to a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.)
  • Dress your child in layers that are easy to add and remove during bouts of chills or fever.
  • Take care of yourself and the other people in your family. If you haven’t already, speak to your doctor about getting a flu vaccine for you and other family members. It is recommended yearly for everyone older than 6 months of age. Also, wash your hands well and often, especially after picking up used tissues.

If your doctor prescribes medicine to ease symptoms, call the pharmacist before you go to pick it up. In a severe flu season, some pharmacies might have trouble keeping the medicines in stock.

Kids who are sick should stay home from school and childcare until they:

  • feel better
  • have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD Date reviewed: September 2019

The Next Steps

  1. Call the doctor. The flu often goes away on its own after a week or so, but in some cases, it can cause serious complications. Kids under 5 — especially those younger than 2 — are more likely to have those problems, as are kids who have other health conditions like asthma. It’s important to let the pediatrician know if you think your child may have the flu.
  2. Manage the symptoms. The most important things your little patient needs are plenty of rest and fluids. There aren’t a lot of over-the-counter cold or flu meds that are safe for young children, but you can try giving acetaminophen or, for kids older than 6 months, ibuprofen. (Do NOT give children aspirin.) They can help bring down a fever and ease aches and pains. If your child has a bad cough, your doctor may also prescribe cough medicine.
  3. Ask about antiviral drugs. They’re prescription medications that can treat the flu by preventing the virus from multiplying inside the body. But to work well, your child has to start taking them ASAP — within 48 hours of when symptoms first appear. He’ll probably take the medicine — which comes in pill, liquid, or inhaler form — for 5 days. Antiviral drugs can make his flu symptoms milder and help him get better faster. Studies also say they make people less likely to get other serious health problems, like pneumonia.
  4. Know when to get help. It’s important to pay attention to any signs of flu complications. Alert your pediatrician if your child has a high fever for more than 48 hours, is getting sicker, or is not better. (That’s over 101 degrees in kids who are at least 3 months old — for younger kids, call the doctor for any fever). Other red flags include signs of dehydration (dry eyes and mouth, peeing very little), unusual breathing (wheezing, panting, or trouble taking a deep breath), or a bluish tint to the lips or face. You should also call the doctor if your child seems “out of it” or won’t eat or drink.

6 home remedies for flu in kids [Infographic]

Symptoms of the flu in kids can include sore throat, muscle aches, congestion, fever, chills and fatigue. If your child is feeling sick, help them feel better by encouraging rest and keeping them hydrated. You can also try these kid-friendly flu home remedies to give relief.

How to treat the flu at home

  1. Consider using a cool mist humidifier to soothe an irritated or sore throat.
  2. Only for children older than 1 year, give a teaspoon of honey prior to brushing their teeth to help with nighttime cough. See more cough remedies for kids.
  3. For children who are too young to blow their nose, use a bulb suction to remove mucus.
  4. Encourage your child to breathe in moist, warm water vapors from a shower or bath to loosen mucus.
  5. Avoid giving cough and cold medications to kids. Learn why these medications are not recommended for young children.
  6. For children over 6 months old, give your child plenty of warm fluids.

Some symptoms of the flu in kids warrant medical attention. Learn when to call the doctor and when to visit the ER for the flu. You can also learn when your child should take Tamiflu to relieve symptoms.

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Texas Children’s Blog

We are in the midst of one of the most severe flu seasons in a decade. Texas Children’s alongside hospitals across the nation have seen a major jump in flu-related emergency center visits over the past several weeks. It’s important for parents to understand when they should or shouldn’t bring their child into an emergency center with flu-like symptoms. The flu can cause a variety of symptoms and effects, ranging from mild to severe. Most healthy people, including children, can recover from the flu without complications, and don’t need to go to the emergency center or seek hospitalization. Symptoms of the flu can include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

A child with these regular flu-like symptoms can usually be cared for at home with fever-reducing medication, like Tylenol or Ibuprofen, clear fluids and bed rest. If diagnosed early enough, some children might benefit from Tamiflu, a medication that requires a prescription from your pediatrician. To ensure your child has fully recovered from the flu, he/she should stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. If your child’s flu-like symptoms return and worsen, or if your child is at high risk for developing flu-related complications (he/she is younger than 2 years old or has a chronic condition like asthma, epilepsy, lung disease, heart disease, sickle cell disease, cancer, etc.), call your child’s pediatrician to seek evaluation. You should seek immediate medical care in an emergency center if your child exhibits any of these core warning signs:

  • Return of flu-like symptoms with worsened fever, cough
  • Fast or trouble breathing
  • Cyanosis, a bluish discoloration of the skin
  • Dehydration, a lack of fluid consumption (no tears with crying, dry lips and mouth, no urination in more than eight hours)
  • Severe lethargy
  • Irritability

In adults, core warning signs signaling a need for urgent medical attention include:

  • Return of flu-like symptoms with worsened fever, cough
  • Difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion or altered mental state
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Just remember: Although most flu-related illnesses can be treated at home, please seek immediate medical care if you’re especially concerned about your child’s health, or if your child exhibits any of the core warning signs. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu infection. It isn’t too late to get your flu shot!

You’re worried you might have come down with the flu. Now what?

First it helps to make sure whatever you’re experiencing actually is the flu. “A lot of people get flus and colds mixed up in terms of symptoms,” says Vanessa Raabe, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone in New York City who specializes in infectious diseases. The flu season peaks between December and February but can begin a couple of months earlier and last a couple of months longer—right about the time that colds start making the rounds, too, she adds.

Why is it important to tell the difference? The flu can more dangerous than the cold and has different treatment options.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself and others and speed up recovery. Here’s what you need to know, including symptoms that distinguish the flu from your everyday cold, how long it takes to feel better, and tips to lessen the severity and duration.

Flu symptoms

Sure, the flu and the cold are both viruses that circulate around the same time of the year. But a cold is confined to the upper airway while a flu is a systematic disease, says Anthony Fauci, M.D., the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In other words, your entire body takes a hit.

The following can help you tell the flu apart from the common cold:

  • Symptoms appear fast. If you have a cold, a day or two of sore throat progresses to congestion and a cough. The flu, on the other hand, knocks you out on the same day. “I got the flu several years ago. I was making rounds with my patients, and in less than an hour I had to go home and go to bed,” says Fauci.
  • You often have a fever, chills, and body aches. These symptoms are common with the flu, but not colds–and not everyone with the flu gets a fever. “Fever is a mechanism we’ve developed to make our bodies less hospitable to bacteria and viruses,” says Theresa Madaline, M.D., hospital epidemiologist and assistant professor of infectious diseases at Montefiore Health System in Bronx, NY.
  • You’re exhausted. You might be able to go about your usual routines and even exercise with a cold, says Fauci. With the flu, you’ll likely feel too fatigued and weak to hit the gym.
  • You have a headache. While the cold rarely causes headaches, they’re quite common with the flu, says Fauci.

Other common flu symptoms include a cough and a runny or stuffy nose. Sneezing and a sore throat are more common with colds than the flu, Fauci adds.

How long does it take to get over the flu?

Most people feel better in a few days. However, it can take up to a few weeks to get over fatigue, body aches, and incessant coughing.

“The flu causes a lot of irritation. Even when the acute infection is gone, it takes time for inflammation to go down,” says Raabe. Recovery time varies by person and may be impacted by whether you were previously vaccinated against the flu, adds Madaline.

Flu treatments

Skip the ER (unless you’re super sick or at risk of complications) to avoid spreading the virus to other people in the waiting room, Madaline advises. Call your doctor at the first signs of symptoms instead.

Medicines can’t cure the flu, but you can lessen the severity and duration of the virus. Here’s how:

Get an antiviral prescription

Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Baloxavir prevent the flu virus from replicating and spreading in the body. They can shave off about a day’s worth of illness, reduce the risk of complications, and decrease your chance of passing the virus on to someone else, says Madaline. However, they only work if taken within 24 to 48 hours of your first symptoms.

In fact, unless you’re at higher risk of flu complications, your doctor likely won’t give an antiviral prescription if it’s too late. That’s why it’s so important to contact your doctor right away if you think you’re sick.

Take a pain reliever

Popping an acetaminophen or ibuprofen helps ease fever as well as muscle and body aches. Madaline recommends checking with your doctor first if you have liver or kidney disease to ensure you get the right dose. It’s best to avoid aspirin if you have the flu as it can sometimes lead to a rare but serious condition known as Ryes’ syndrome that causes liver and brain swelling, says Raabe.


That’s probably all you’ll want to do anyway—and for good reason, since it’s what your body needs to recover, says Fauci.

Drink lots of fluids

You may need double or triple the amount of water you usually drink, especially if you have a fever. “You’re losing fluid even though don’t realize it,” says Fauci.

Moyo StudioGetty Images

Protect your family and friends

Skip work or school. The flu virus spreads easily via the surfaces you touch and air droplets up to a few feet from where you cough or sneeze, says Raabe.

At home, try to keep yourself quarantined as much as possible. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, wipe down surfaces with disinfectant cleaners, and wash your hands frequently.

Protect yourself and others from the flu virus

Getting a flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the flu. Every year, the vaccine is updated to protect against strains that experts expect to be the most common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated at the start of the flu season, which begins as early as October.

Just know, that you can get the flu even if vaccinated. Some people don’t have as robust of an antibody response to vaccination, says Raabe. The flu also mutates quickly, meaning your body might not recognize the virus even if you’ve been vaccinated.

The good news is, even if you do get sick, vaccination decreases the severity of symptoms, the risk of complications, and the chances you’ll infect others, notes Madaline.

One common misperception is that the vaccine itself makes you sick. It doesn’t. “It’s designed to elicit an immune response, and part of that can be feeling under the weather for day or two,” says Raabe—but you won’t get nearly as sick as if you actually had the flu. Some people also mistake a cold virus they happened to catch around the same time for the flu, she adds.

When to call the doctor

See your doctor if your symptoms are getting worse, or if you feel better and get worse again, which could indicate you’re sick with a sinus or ear infection. “The flu causes inflammation, which makes it easier for bacterial infections to settle in and make you sick,” says Raabe.

Other symptoms that warrant a doctor’s visit include difficulty breathing; severe chest pain; weakness or dizziness to the point where you’re unable to get up; and feeling confused or unable to think clearly.

In very rare cases, the flu can affect the brain and heart or cause pneumonia. Some people are more at risk of complications,including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children under the age of 5
  • Adults over the age of 65
  • People with chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, or asthma

“The additional stress the flu places on the body tends to make those conditions worse,” says Raabe. Check in with your doctor early on if you’re among one of these groups that’s at higher risk for complications.

In some cases, the flu can even kill you: It was linked to 79,000 deaths last year, according to the CDC.

“People don’t appreciate how serious it can be,” says Fauci. “It’s rare that an otherwise healthy individual goes to the hospital and dies of respiratory failure, but we see it every year.”

Colleen de Bellefonds Colleen de Bellefonds is an American freelance journalist living in Paris, France, with her husband and dog, Mochi.

Flu: What To Do If You Get Sick

Common Signs & Symptoms of Flu

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

What should I do if I get sick?

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider (doctor, physician assistant, etc.).

Certain people are at high risk of serious flu-related complications (including young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions). This is true both for seasonal flu and novel flu virus infections. (For a full list of people at high risk of flu-related complications, see People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications). If you are in a high risk group and develop flu symptoms, it’s best for you to contact your doctor early in your illness. Remind them about your high risk status for flu. CDC recommends that people at high risk for complications should get antiviral treatment as early as possible, because benefit is greatest if treatment is started within 2 days after illness onset.

Do I need to go to the emergency room if I am only a little sick?

No. The emergency room should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill.

If you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice. If you go to the emergency room and you are not sick with the flu, you may catch it from people who do have it.

What are the emergency warning signs of flu?

People experiencing these warning signs should obtain medical care right away.

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • Fever above 104°F
  • In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

These lists are not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.

Treatment: What You Need to Know

Treatment Questions

  • Can flu be treated?
    Yes. There are prescription medications called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat flu illness.
  • What are antiviral drugs?
    Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution) that fight against flu in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor or health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.

Antiviral Drugs

Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider (doctor, physician assistant, etc.). CDC recommends prompt treatment for people who have flu infection or suspected flu infection and who are at high risk of serious flu complications, such as people with asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

You might need antiviral medication to treat flu:

  • Antiviral drugs can treat flu illness
  • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. Flu antivirals are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, intravenous solution, or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter
  • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia
  • It’s very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat people who are very sick with flu (for example, people who are in the hospital) and people who are sick with flu and have a greater chance of getting serious flu complications, either because of their age or because they have a high risk medical condition. Other people also may be treated with antiviral drugs by their doctor this season. Most otherwise-healthy people who get flu, however, do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.

Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatments when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from flu (for example, hospitalized patients). Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking these drugs.

If you get sick:

1. Take Antivirals Drugs, if prescribed by a doctor

2. Take everyday precautions to protect others while sick

  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.

3. Stay home until you are better

  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • See Other Important Information for People Who are Sick.

How Long Does the Flu Last and What Is It, Exactly?

According to the CDC, the flu can really wreak havoc on you, knocking you off our feet and straight into bed. The best way to prevent it is by getting the flu vaccine each year. But what if you do happen to catch it? How long does the flu last? What are the signs and flu symptoms you can expect? Get all your answers right here.

What is influenza, aka the flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can range from mild to severe. When ill with the flu, people often feel some (or even all) of these flu symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone with the flu actually gets a fever)

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headaches

How does it spread?

Experts believe that influenza usually spreads through droplets that are created when those with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk—specifically, when these droplets land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Sometimes (though, less often) a person can even catch the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it, and then afterward touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.

How long does the flu last?

As harsh as the flu can be, the good news is that most people feel much better within one to two weeks. Most healthy adults become contagious the day before symptoms develop (which makes it trickier to prevent from spreading). They remain infectious for up to five to seven days after symptoms appear. However, children and those with weakened immune systems may be contagious for an even longer period.

How can I get some relief?

Here are a few things you can do to feel better while convalescing:

  • Get plenty of rest—your immune system needs a lot of sleep to recover.

  • Treat your cough so you can rest easier—there are some great cough remedies you can try.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Take an over-the-counter medication. Although Vicks products cannot cure the flu, they can help you feel better. If you’re suffering from a sore throat, runny nose, minor aches and pains, headache, fever, or cough, try to get some much-needed flu symptom relief both day and night. And for your worst cold and flu symptoms, there’s maximum strength NyQuil and DayQuil SEVERE.

However, you should consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of the below.

  • If your temperature reaches 103° F or higher.

  • If you’ve had a fever for more than three days.

  • If your fever is accompanied by a severe headache, severe throat swelling, an unusual skin rash, mental confusion, persistent vomiting, or any other out-of-the ordinary symptoms.

Also, talk to your doctor before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines since some medicines contain ingredients that are not recommended for children. Always read drug labels carefully before administering medications.

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