Treating the Flu In People With Health Risks (cont.)

What should I do if I think I have the flu?

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs are a treatment option. Check with your doctor promptly if you have a high risk condition and you get flu symptoms. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu illness.

Should I still get a flu vaccine?

Yes. Antiviral drugs are not a substitute for getting a flu vaccine. While not 100% effective, a flu vaccine is the first and best way to prevent influenza. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick.

What are the benefits of antiviral drugs?

  • When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days.
  • Antiviral drugs also can prevent serious flu-related complications (like pneumonia). This is especially important for people with a high-risk health condition like asthma, diabetes or chronic heart disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/15/2013