How Long Does the Flu Last? How Can I Treat My Symptoms?

Russell Pelzel

Pelzel's Hometown Pharmacy

Pilot Point, Texas

September 1, 2021

The seasonal flu, if uncomplicated, can last up to 14 days. Typically, signs and symptoms occur for 3-7 days. Treatment for the flu varies based on the specific symptoms you experience. The most common symptoms are fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache, and fatigue.

  • Fever, chills, and muscle aches may be treated with Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), or Aleve (naproxen).
  • A cough can be treated with Delsym (dextromethorphan), but only if the symptom is severe. Lung congestion can be treated with Mucinex (guaifenesin) or the supplement N-Acetyl-Cysteine.
  • Sinus can congestion be treated with Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), Sudafed PE (phenylephrine), Afrin nasal spray (oxymetazoline), or
    Ocean saline spray.
  • A runny nose can be treated with your favorite antihistamine like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Zyrtec (cetirizine). You can also use a steroidal nasal inhaler, like Flonase, for a runny nose.

As always, if your symptoms are severe or you have other health issues, see your physician as soon as possible for medical treatment. Prescription medications, like Tamiflu or Xofluza, require the medication to be started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent that of AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation. The content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe or treat any health condition and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health professional.

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