Influenza - more commonly known as Ďthe fluí - is an infectious disease that is easily passed from one person to another. Symptoms usually last for a week, but some may persist for longer. They include the sudden onset of a high fever, aching muscles, headaches, a cough, a sore throat and a stuffy nose.
Whilst many people can naturally fight off the flu, itís a serious condition for the very young, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
You can avoid catching influenza by having a vaccination, or by taking prescription medication like Tamiflu, which can stop the disease developing if youíve been in contact with an infected person.
What is influenza?
Influenza is caused by a virus which infects the respiratory tract, where it replicates and damages your cells. Itís particularly dangerous for people who have a lower immune response, such as those who are pregnant, very young, suffering from cancer, asthmatic, the elderly or those suffering from pulmonary diseases. These people are also more likely to catch the flu.
In Ireland, out of every million people, 721 will catch the flu and almost five will die.
Prevention and treatments
The basic way to treat the flu if youíre healthy is to get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs will help with the fever, aches and pains caused by influenza. If you have a fever, you can sponge yourself down with tepid water to cool yourself down.
It usually takes a week to recover from influenza, though some symptoms might linger for an additional week.
A flu vaccination will prevent you from catching this disease. Every winter people who are at a high risk of developing serious complications as a result of an influenza infection are encouraged to have this vaccination.
Over the counter medication
Certain flu medications can be bought over the counter to alleviate the symptoms of flu; however, they donít prevent the spread of the infection. Treatments such as antihistamines, decongestants and cough medicines will help relieve symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, a sore throat and coughing.
Antiviral prescription medication
Antivirals are the only way to prevent influenza symptoms and to stop the spread of infection. They can also stop you from developing serious symptoms if you have come into contact with an infected person.
Tamiflu is a convenient prescription medication that treats the flu and is easy to take. It reduces the severity of symptoms and infections like bronchitis, and boosts recovery time by slashing the duration of the infection by a day and a half or more.
Tamiflu can also be used to prevent you from catching influenza if youíve come into contact with someone suffering from the infection.
This flu medication is available only with a prescription. It treats influenza A and B in children and adults who are over seven-years old. Relenza stops the viral infection from spreading in your body and helps to reduce recovery time.
Relenza is inhaled through a device thatís similar to an inhaler. This needs to be done twice a day over five days to help tackle influenza.
Can I buy flu medication online?
The flu treatments we sell are prescription-only, which means that you can only purchase them with a valid prescription. We make this process simple by asking all our patients to complete a consultation with one of our registered doctors. These experts will review your medical history and consider if itís safe for you to use these influenza treatments with any medication you may be taking.
If they believe itís safe for you to buy influenza medication, they will write you a prescription. This will be sent to our pharmacy which will dispense the medication before sending it to you via free next-day delivery.