Resting and drinking plenty of fluids is the most basic form of influenza treatment. In time the body can fight off the viral infection and your health should return. To help with the fever, aches and pains association with this viral infection, you should sponge yourself down with tepid water or wait for recovery. Alternatively, you can take:
- Aspirin (not children under 16)
Nutritional supplements and herbal medicines
If your body is malnourished, it won’t have the strength or ability to fight off an infection. If you don’t have enough vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, folic acid or zinc, it weakens your immune system and can cause anaemia. This puts you at a greater risk of catching an infection whilst reducing your body’s ability to fight the infection.
For this reason, many people use herbs as an influenza treatment, which helps to reduce its symptoms. A few examples of herbal influenza treatments include: anise tea, which can help stimulate the secretion of mucous in the lungs and throat; catnip tea, which relieves fever and digestive upsets; and echinacea tea, which stimulates the immune system to help relieve symptoms.
Every year those with a high risk of contracting this viral infection are urged to have a flu vaccination. This influenza treatment prevents much of the illness and death of people in high-risk groups, such as those over 65; people with chronic diseases of the heart, lung or kidneys; or those with diabetes or severe forms of anaemia.
A vaccine isn’t 100% effective, but most people who receive the flu vaccination won’t contract the viral infection. If you do catch influenza, often the symptoms will be milder than if you hadn’t been vaccinated.
Antiviral prescription drugs
If you’ve been in contact with someone suffering from the flu, or if you have symptoms already, then antiviral drugs will probably be the best influenza treatment.
This influenza treatment can prevent you from catching the flu if you’ve been exposed to an infected person. It also treats the symptoms of the viral infection, and can reduce the time you suffer by a day and a half.
This influenza treatment is inhaled through a device similar to an inhaler every 12 hours over five days. It prevents the viral infection from spreading through your body which can help to improve recovery time.
Over the counter medication
These don’t directly treat influenza, but can provide relief from symptoms associated with the viral infection. Antihistamines, decongestants and cough suppressants can help with sinus pressure, a runny nose, watery eyes and coughs.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t use an over the counter influenza treatment for more than seven days. If your symptoms last longer than a week, you might have developed a more serious condition and you should speak to your doctor.
Antihistamines treat symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes and itchiness.
Analgesics relieve aches and pains and reduce fever. Examples of this type of influenza treatment include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
Antitussives are also known as cough suppressants and tell your brain to stop coughing. You shouldn’t use this influenza treatment if you’re coughing up mucous.
Expectorants help to thin mucous so it can be coughed up more easily.
Decongestant nasal sprays work by shrinking the nasal passages to reduce congestion, but can only be used for a few days. Overuse can make symptoms worse when you stop taking this influenza medication.