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Home / Influenza (flu)

Influenza (flu)

Get influenza (flu) medication with an online prescription

The flu is a common condition, especially during autumn and winter, when the temperature drops. It is a contagious viral illness that can leave many with a fever, cough, muscle aches and several other symptoms.

For the majority of people, the flu will get better on its own. However, in the most vulnerable, it can become much more severe. You can get prescription treatment to significantly reduce the symptoms of influenza, such as Tamiflu, online at euroClinix.

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Caroline Fontana Written by our editorial team
Last reviewed 14-08-2023

Available Treatment(s)

Pack contains 10 hard capsules of Tamiflu® 75mg Oseltamivir for oral use
Tamiflu 4.9(33 Reviews)
  • Treats and prevents flu symptoms
  • Reduces recovery time
  • Most effective within first 48 hours
More Info
 

What is influenza?

Influenza, more commonly known as “the flu”, is a common but contagious virus that is common in the colder months. Flu season typically starts around September and ends in March. Symptoms can range from mild to severe but most cases will go away on their own in 1-2 weeks.

What causes influenza?

Flu is caused by the influenza virus. Other respiratory conditions, such as the common cold or COVID-19 (coronavirus), are caused by different viruses.

How the flu spreads depends on the type. The ones you need to know about are types A & B.

  • Influenza type A is passed on from animals to humans. Famous examples include swine and bird flu.
  • Influenza type B is passed on between humans.

The virus is easily transmitted through tiny droplets. You may catch the flu if someone with the virus coughs, sneezes or talks around you. The droplets land in the mouths of noses of the people around.

You can also catch the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. The virus can live on a surface or on your hands for up to 24 hours.

If you have the flu, you are infectious before symptoms appear and until up to 7 days after symptoms appear.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Flu symptoms are similar to cold symptoms. However, flu symptoms tend to be more severe and occur more abruptly.

Symptoms of the flu include:

  • fever and chills
  • a dry cough
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • muscle aches and pains
  • tiredness
  • vomiting and diarrhoea
  • loss of appetite

Not everyone will experience all signs of the flu. You should keep an eye on your symptoms, especially if you are vulnerable, to prevent yourself from getting seriously ill.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

Cold Flu
  • Symptoms occur gradually.
  • Symptoms usually are milder.
  • Rarely causes fever, headaches or chills.
  • Can be caused by several viruses.
  • Symptoms occur suddenly.
  • Symptoms are usually more severe.
  • Usually causes fever, aches, headaches and fatigue.
  • Can cause complications.
  • Only caused by influenza viruses.

Is the flu serious?

For most, the flu is not serious. You might feel under the weather for a few weeks, but you’re unlikely to have any complications from it. This is because most people’s immune systems are strong enough to fight off the virus on their own.

However, certain groups of people are more at risk of experiencing severe complications because their immune systems are weaker.

This includes people who:

  • are over the age of 65
  • have a chronic medical condition (e.g. asthma, diabetes or a heart condition)
  • are pregnant
  • have cancer
  • have HIV/AIDS
  • have a disability
  • have a high BMI
  • have had a stroke

In the very worst cases, some people can die from the flu. This is why we must limit the risk of exposure to the most vulnerable people.

Complications of the flu

In some cases, people can experience complications from the flu. It is common in those with weakened immune systems.

Potential complications include:

  • inflammation in the lungs (e.g. bronchitis or pneumonia)
  • inflammation in the heart (myocarditis)
  • inflammation in the brain (encephalitis)
  • inflammation in the muscle tissue
  • organ failure
  • worsening of asthma symptoms and asthma attacks
  • sepsis

In rare cases, people can die from the flu. However, if you treat complications quickly, this is rare.

How do I treat the flu?

You can treat mild cases of the flu at home. Resting, drinking plenty of water and keeping warm are simple but effective ways of helping reduce symptoms.

A pharmacist can also recommend over-the-counter treatments to target specific flu symptoms:

  • paracetamol or ibuprofen - for aches, pains and a high temperature
  • nasal sprays or drops - to reduce a runny or stuffy nose
  • cough medicines
  • cold & flu tablets - contain several ingredients that will help with a variety of symptoms

Always check with your pharmacist if you have any medical conditions or take any other medications, as not all cold & flu treatments will be right for you.

What prescription influenza treatments are there?

For the most vulnerable, you can use an antiviral medication called Tamiflu which contains oseltamivir. It is prescribed to prevent or treat symptoms shortly after they start to occur. It targets viral cells, which stops them from spreading within the body.

You take one tablet twice daily for 5 days. You can start taking Tamiflu within 2 days of coming into contact with influenza or 2 days after you experience any symptoms.

It’s not suitable for everyone, so always consult your doctor before using Tamiflu.

Do antibiotics help the flu?

No, antibiotics do not help treat the flu. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, such as STIs and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Influenza is a virus, which means antibiotics will not work.

Taking antibiotics when you don’t need to can cause more harm than good. It could mean that serious infections become more difficult to treat, a phenomenon known as antibiotic resistance.

How do I prevent the flu?

Preventing the flu, especially in vulnerable people, is the best way to avoid serious complications. The flu is very contagious, so if you have symptoms, you must take precautions to not spread it to others.

How to prevent spreading the flu
washing-hands

Wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap.

washing-hands

Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze.

washing-hands

Bin used tissues as quickly as possible.

If you don’t feel well enough, you should also stay home to avoid spreading the virus. You could also wear a mask in small spaces, like on public transport or in an office.

What is the flu vaccine?

A safe and effective way of reducing the risk of life-threatening flu complications is to get the flu vaccine.

The influenza vaccine works by increasing immunity. You get a small dose of the influenza virus, which teaches your body to produce antibodies that fight the virus. This protects you if you get the flu and stops you from experiencing severe symptoms.

The vaccine is available for free in the UK for people at a high risk of getting seriously ill or spreading it to vulnerable people. You qualify for a free flu vaccine if you fall under the following risk groups:

  • are over the age of 50
  • have a chronic health condition (e.g. asthma, kidney disease, liver disease or sickle cell disease)
  • have a learning disability
  • are pregnant
  • are a frontline healthcare worker
  • have a weakened immune system (e.g. from cancer or HIV)
  • care for someone who is high risk

You can get the flu vaccine at your local GP surgery or pharmacy. Get the vaccine as early into flu season as possible, as it takes 10-14 days for the vaccine to start working.

How do I buy influenza treatment safely online?

You can buy the antiviral drug Tamiflu online for the treatment and prevention of the flu. Our service is certified safe by the MHRA, GMC and GPhC.

All you have to do is complete a quick online consultation which will be reviewed by one of our online doctors. Once they have approved you for treatment, your prescription will be sent to our pharmacy, where it will be dispensed and dispatched to your address.

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