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How to Get Thru the Flu

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on November 29, 2016 at 5:32 pm

If you have ever had the flu, you know just how down and out you can feel. Besides feeling like a zombie, the most common symptoms of the flu include chills, fever, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headache or vomiting and diarrhea.

With flu season peaking as early as December, it’s important to know the common signs and symptoms, and what can be done to decrease your days spent sick and in bed. We have some useful information to help you detect and beat the flu faster!

Is the flu caused by bacteria?

No, the flu is caused by various types of viruses.

Will an antibiotic cure me of the flu?

No, antibiotics are used to get rid of bacteria and do not work on viruses like the flu.

How is the flu virus spread?

The flu virus is spread from person-to-person via respiratory droppings from sneezing, coughing, talking, or touching.

What can be done if you detect the flu early enough?

If you can see your doctor within 48 hours of your flu symptoms appearing, your doctor may treat you with an antiviral like Tamiflu or Relenza. These antivirals fight the flu virus in the body which may lessen symptoms and shorten the time that you are sick.

Are there any over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for the flu?

Unfortunately, no. There is nothing you can get over-the-counter to treat the flu. There are, however, some over-the-counter items you can get to help manage the pesky flu symptoms! Here are some drugs that might be helpful for certain symptoms:

  • Fever and body aches can be managed with OTC pain relievers like:
    • Tylenol
    • Motrin
  • Sore throats can be managed with OTC pain relievers, throat sprays, throat drops like:
    • Chloraspeitc spray
    • Demulcent throat lozenges
    • Tylenol
    • Motrin
    • Aleve
  • Coughs can be managed three different ways.
    • A productive cough (with mucus) can be managed with an OTC expectorant like Robitussan or Mucinex.
    • A Dry cough (without mucus) can be managed with Delsym.
    • If you want both, you can also try a combination product with an expectorant and cough suppressant like Muxinex DM or Roitussin DM.
  • Runny noses can be managed with OTC oral histamines or nasal sprays like:
    • Oral antihistamines
      • Benadryl
      • Claritin
      • Zyrtec
      • Allegra
    • Nasal Sprays
      • Flonase Allergy Relief
      • Nasacort Allergy 24HR
      • Saline nasal spray

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