Commons Medications and Treatments for Influenza / The Flu

There are several treatment routes that one may take to hasten recovery from the flu and overcome the symptoms. Read more in this patient education guide.

Natural Remedies

      • Hydration – One of the most important steps is to maintain hydration because fluid is markedly lost from fever and rapid breathing. Increasing water intake is very helpful in combating the infection, along with citrus juices for Vitamin C.
      • Food – Even with a decreased appetite, eating provides the nutrition to maintain strength and boost immunity. Taking vitamin supplements (especially zinc) is also helpful.
      • Sleep – Sleeping helps cell generation and also boosts immunity.
      • Echinacea – Echinacea is an herb considered to be antiviral (acts similarly to interferon) and a stimulant for immunity.
      • Goldenseal herb (Hydrastis Canadensis) – This herb is touted as an immunity stimulant.
      • Garlic and onion – These vegetables have antiviral effects.
      • Huang qi or Astragalus – These herbs are thought to boost immunity.

It is important to note that, although alternative or holistic practitioners tout these herbal remedies, they have not been scientifically proven to help fight the flu.


Drug Remedies

Drug Category How the Medication Works
 Decongestants  Decreases congestion in the nasal passageway
 Anti-Inflammatories  Reduces aches and fever while the body’s defenses combat the viral infection
 Neuraminidase Inhibitors   Given to patients who have had the flu for less than 48 hoursStops the spread of the influenza virus in the body to hasten recovery and inhibit secondary infections

Reduces the amount of time symptoms are present

 Antibiotics   Might be prescribed if the flu persists for more than one weekPrevents secondary bacterial invaders that cause pneumonia


Written by Barbara Hales, MD