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Published on September 08, 2017. Last modified on October 08, 2018
Many people may only require rest, extra fluids, and/or over-the-counter medications like decongestants, cough mediation, and anti-fever medications to recover from the flu. The flu is caused by a virus, so antibiotics are not effective against it.
There are prescription medications called “anti-viral” drugs that can be used to treat influenza. When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. For people with a high risk medical condition, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having milder illness instead of very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.