Order effective antivirals for flu treatment and prevention

Influenza is a contagious viral infection that normally runs its course for 7 to 10 days. Prescription flu antivirals will help you recover noticeably faster.


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Prices exclude a prescription fee. This treatment requires a quick online consultation, which a doctor will review to determine if a prescription is appropriate.


What is flu?

Influenza, also known as Flu, is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system. It is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person through germs from coughs and sneezes. Flu is easily treatable and often gets better within a week.

What causes flu?

Flu viruses change constantly and new strains appear regularly. If you have had flu before, your body may be able to fight viruses of a similar strain, but you will be susceptible to new strains of flu. The virus spreads from person to person through droplets from the coughs and sneezes of an infected person, and can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours. You are recommended to get vaccinated against flu once every year, at the beginning of the flu season (December to March). Certain people who are more susceptible to flu are eligible for a free vaccination on the NHS.

How dangerous is flu?

Flu is not usually dangerous, and tends to go away within a week or two if you are young and healthy. However, certain groups of people are more at risk of developing complications of flu, including pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, heart problems and flare-ups. For this reason, people at higher risk are eligible for a free, annual vaccination against flu.

What are flu antivirals?

Antivirals such as Tamiflu are medicines which can be used to treat or prevent flu. They work by stopping the spread of the flu virus in the body, helping to alleviate symptoms such as sinus congestion, runny nose, sore throat, cough, muscle and joint aches, headache, fever and chills, and can speed up recovery time by 1 to 1 days.

Who is most at risk of flu?

Those who are at most risk of flu, and of developing complications of flu, are eligible for a free annual flu vaccination each year. These include:

  • People over the age of 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of long-stay residential care homes
  • Caregivers who receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for and elderly or disabled person
  • Children over the age of 6 months with a long-term health conditions
  • Children born between September 2014 and August 2016
  • Children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

You will also be eligible for a free flu vaccination if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or bronchitis
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Problems with your spleen, such as sickle cell disease
  • A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDs, or medications such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • Being seriously overweight, with a BMI of 40 or above


What are the symptoms of flu?

Flu primarily affects the respiratory system, with symptoms including:

  • Sudden fever
  • Aching body
  • Tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sinus congestion and runny nose
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhoea or abdominal pain
  • Nausea or sickness

Children may also experience pain in their ear and may appear less active.

Is flu just a bad cold?

Although flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses. It can be hard to tell the difference, as symptoms are often similar, but flu tends to have more severe symptoms and carries a greater risk of more serious health complications.

Flu vs common cold

Symptoms of flu tend to be more severe than those of a common cold, and come on abruptly rather than gradually. This includes a high fever, which is rarely experienced with a cold. A person with a cold is unlikely to feel as achy and weak as someone suffering from flu, but a runny nose is more typical of a common cold.


How is flu treated?

Flu can often be treated at home by getting plenty of rest, keeping warm, drinking plenty of water and taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature. A pharmacist will be able to advise you on over-the-counter flu remedies, although you should be careful not to use them in combination with paracetamol or ibuprofen as you may exceed the recommended dose. Antiviral medications such as Tamiflu are also available on prescription, and can be used to treat flu, speeding up recovery time by 1 to 2 days, and prevent it in the case of a local outbreak. 

Flu remedies

There are many different flu remedies which can be purchased over the counter from any pharmacy. For relief of nasal or sinus congestion, decongestants in the form of oral or nasal sprays help to reduce swelling and irritation in the nasal passage. Similarly, antihistamines can help with nasal irritation, runny nose and sneezing. There are numerous cough medicines available for different types of cough and a pharmacist will be able to tell you which is the best fit for your symptoms. Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin will help with muscle and headaches, and will also help to bring down your temperature.

How effective are flu antivirals?

Antivirus are recognised by the WHO and the CDC as effective in the treatment and prevention of influenza. They are usually prescribed if the patient is at a higher risk of complications from flu. They are most effective when taken within the first 48 hours of noticing symptoms and can speed up recovery time by 1 or 2 days.

Flu antivirals vs the flu jab

It is recommended that everyone be vaccinated against flu annually, at the start of the flu season (December to March). Antivirals can be taken in addition to treat symptoms of flu, or in a preventative capacity if you have recently come into contact with someone who has the virus, and will not alter the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. 

What does Tamiflu do?

Tamiflu is a popular type of antivar that contains oseltamivir. It works by stopping the spread of the flu virus in the body, alleviating symptoms and speeding up recovery time by 1 to 2 days. It works best if taken within 48 hours of noticing flu-like symptoms and usually begins to alleviate symptoms within 2 days. It can also be taken in a preventative capacity.

Which types of flu does Tamiflu work for?

Tamiflu is the most commonly used antiviral in the treatment and prevention of influenza. Other infections may be mistakenly referred to as flu, but are actually just a cold or sinus infection. 

Can Aciclovir be used to treat flu?

Aciclovir is an antiviral that is commonly used to treat herpes, shingles and chickenpox. It is not used to treat or prevent flu.


Why do you need a flu jab every year?

Flu viruses evolve quickly, with new strains emerging every year. Last year’s flu vaccine will not be able to protect you from the latest viruses. New flu viruses are developed each year to keep up with the latest strains of flu, helping your immune system to produce the antibodies needed to fight them. 

Do antivirals kill viruses?

Viruses use the host’s cells to replicate, so are difficult to target and destroy. Antivirals do not kill viruses, but stop them from spreading through the body. This speeds up recovery time by making it easier for the immune system to target the virus.

Are antivirals antibiotics?

Antivirals are not antibiotics. They are used to treat viral infections, while antibiotics target bacterial infections.

Are flu antivirals safe?

Antivirals are considered to be a safe and effective treatment flu and other viral infections. If you are pregnant, speak to your doctor for advice on the safety of antivirals before taking them.

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