Flu Diagnosis

For many people, the flu won’t need a diagnosis or medical treatment. As it’s caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t help.

If you are fit and healthy then you will usually just need to rest at home until you recover, which usually takes around a week. Here are some self-care measures you can try whilst you’re getting better:

  • stay at home and get plenty of rest and sleep
  • drink lots of fluid to prevent dehydration
  • keep yourself warm
  • take over-the-counter painkillers to help with the symptoms
  • treat your cough with over-the-counter medication if you wish

Some people are at higher risks of complications from the flu. You should speak to a doctor if you have flu and you are pregnant, over the age of 65 or if your symptoms don’t get better after a week. If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma, or a weakened immune system, you should also see a GP.

If your baby or child is showing severe flu symptoms, or if you’re worried about them, you should see a GP for more advice.

If you start coughing up blood, have chest pain or breathing difficulties, go to A&E or call 999 urgently.

You should also take steps to minimise the chances of passing the flu on to other people, as it is contagious. Try to:

  • cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw these away immediately
  • wash your hands immediately after sneezing or coughing
  • stay away from other people, and stay off school or work whilst you recover
  • don’t share things like cutlery, and wash down contaminated surfaces to kill germs

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