You can often treat the flu without seeing your GP and should begin to feel better in about a week.
Check if you have flu
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:
a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
feeling tired or exhausted
dry, chesty cough
loss of appetite
diarrhoea or tummy pain
nausea and being sick
The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.
Telling the difference between cold and flu
Cold and flu symptoms are similar, but flu tends to be more severe.
Appears quickly within a few hours Appears gradually
Affects more than just your nose and throat Affects mainly your nose and throat
exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal Unwell, but you’re OK to carry on
How to treat flu yourself
To help you get better more quickly:
rest and sleep
take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)
Be careful not to use flu remedies if you’re taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose.
How to avoid spreading the flu
Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You’re more likely to give it to others in the first 5 days.
Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
To reduce the risk of spreading flu:
wash your hands often with warm water and soap
use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
bin used tissues as quickly as possible
See how to wash your hands correctly
How to prevent flu
The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, as well as spreading it to others.
It’s more effective to get the vaccine before the start of the flu season (December to March).
Tamiflu is used for treating flu (influenza). It can be used when you have flu symptoms, and the flu virus is known to be going round in your community. Tamiflu can also be prescribed for preventing flu. Influenza, usually called flu, is an infection caused by a virus. The signs of flu often include a sudden fever (more than 37.8 °C), cough, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches and extreme tiredness. These symptoms can also be caused by other infections. True influenza infection only occurs during annual outbreaks (epidemics) when flu viruses are spreading in the local community. Outside epidemic periods, flu-like symptoms are usually caused by a different type of illness.
Tamiflu contains oseltamivir, which belongs to a group of medicines named neuraminidase inhibitors. These medicines prevent the flu virus from spreading inside the body. They help to ease or prevent the symptoms of the flu virus infection.
Influenza, usually called flu, is an infection caused by a virus. The signs of flu often include a sudden fever (more than 37.8 °C), cough, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches and extreme tiredness. These symptoms can also be caused by other infections. True influenza infection only occurs during annual outbreaks (epidemics) when flu viruses are spreading in the local community. Outside epidemic periods, flu-like symptoms are usually caused by a different type of illness.
The recommended doses
For treating flu, take two doses daily. It is usually convenient to take one 75mg dose in the morning and one in the evening. It is important to complete the whole 5-day course, even if you start to feel better quickly.
For preventing flu or after being exposed to an infected person, take one dose daily for 10 days. It is best to take this in the mornings with breakfast.
Swallow the capsules whole with water. Do not break or chew the capsules.
Tamiflu can be taken with or without food, although taking it with food can reduce the chance of feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting).
People who find it hard to take capsules can use a liquid medicine, Tamiflu oral suspension. If you need Tamiflu oral suspension, but it’s not available from your pharmacy, you can make a liquid form of Tamiflu from these capsules. See Making liquid Tamiflu at home on the Paitient Information Leaflet
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Many of the side effects listed below may also be caused by influenza.
The following serious side effects have been rarely reported since oseltamivir has been marketed:
Anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions: severe allergic reactions, with face and skin swelling, itchy rashes, low blood pressure and breathing difficulties
Hepatic disorders (fulminant hepatitis, hepatic function disorder and jaundice): yellowing of the skin and white of the eyes, change in stool color, changes in behaviour
Angioneurotic oedema: sudden onset of severe swelling of the skin mainly around the head and neck area, including eyes and tongue, with difficulties breathing
Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis: complicated, possibly life-threatening allergic reaction, severe inflammation of the outer and possibly inner skin, initially with fever, sore throat, and fatigue, skin rashes, leading to blisters, peeling, shedding of larger areas of skin, possible breathing difficulties and low blood pressure
Gastrointestinal bleeding: prolonged bleeding from the large bowel or spitting up blood
Neuropsychiatric disorders, as described below.
If you notice any of these symptoms, get medical help immediately.
The most frequently (very common and common) reported side effects of Tamiflu are feeling or being sick (nausea, vomiting), stomach ache, stomach upset, headache and pain. These side effects mostly occur after the first dose of the medicine and will usually stop as treatment continues. The frequency of these effects is reduced if the medicinal product is taken with food.
For a full list of side effects see the maunfacturers patient information leaflet.
Further information can be found on the manufacturers
Paitient Information Leaflet and printed if required.