Health A-Z

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Treatment

To ease symptoms, your doctor will recommend that you rest and drink plenty of fluids.

For fever and body aches, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers. The antiviral drugs zanamivir or oseltamivir are another option. Taken within 48 hours of the start of symptoms, they may speed recovery by about one day.

Because flu is a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective.

Children who are suspected of having flu, and who have high fevers should be given acetaminophen (Tylenol). They should never be given aspirin to treat the fever. This can cause the disease called Reye's syndrome.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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