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Flu Treatment Overview

Find the right care and learn about different treatments.
Reviewed by Buoy's medical team
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Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • You can treat flu symptoms at home
  • Taking OTC pain relievers and other medications can help symptoms. Rest and drink fluids.
See home treatments

When you may need a provider

  • Symptoms worsen or fever doesn’t go down when taking fever-reducers.
  • Any young children, older adults, and people with chronic conditions who have flu symptoms.
See care providers

Emergency Care

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Call 911 or go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Lasting dizziness
  • Severe weakness or muscle pain
  • A chronic condition you have is getting worse

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All treatments for flu
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Read more about flu care options

When to see a healthcare provider

See a healthcare provider if your flu symptoms worsen or your fever won’t go down even when you’re taking a fever reducer like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). A doctor can evaluate your symptoms, confirm you have the flu, and recommend ways to treat it.

Children, older adults, and people with chronic medical conditions should also see their healthcare provider when they have flu symptoms. For these high-risk groups, doctors may recommend an antiviral drug to shorten the illness and help prevent complications.

Go to the ER if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, lasting dizziness, seizures, severe weakness or muscle pain, or any chronic health conditions you may have are getting worse.

Is there a test for the flu?

Healthcare providers usually diagnose the flu based on symptoms and a physical exam. In some cases, they may order a test, like a PCR test, to confirm you have the flu. PCR tests are often done by swiping the inside of the nose with a cotton swab that is then sent to a lab for testing.

What to expect from your doctor visit

  • If you are at high risk for complications from the flu—which can include children, older adults, and people with chronic medical conditions—a doctor may prescribe Tamiflu. Tamiflu is an antiviral drug that can reduce symptoms, shorten the flu, and lower the risk of complications.
  • Your doctor will check for other infections, like bronchitis, an ear infection, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
  • If you have a bacterial infection, you will be prescribed antibiotics.

Prescription flu medications

  • oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu)
  • zanamivir (Relenza)
  • peramivir (Rapivab)
  • baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza)

Types of influenza providers

  • A primary care provider can treat flu symptoms.
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