Flu Treatment

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Flu is caused by the influenza virus. It is very infectious and can easily spread to others. It can spread from droplets in the air through coughing and sneezing. The virus can remain on surfaces for up to 24 hours. 

Influenza is a seasonal disease and usually occurs in winter months. There are three types of influenza virus - A, B and C. Influenza A and B cause most cases of flu. Flu can be an unpleasant illness and usually lasts one to two weeks. 

We prescribe Tamiflu which is only effective if started within the first 48 hours of symptoms starting. It can also be prescribed for flu prevention if you have been in contact with someone who has the flu. Tamiflu is not a substitute for the flu jab.

Common Symptoms

Possible symptoms from the virus

Flu symptoms tend to come on quickly and are more severe than the common cold. They will often leave you feeling exhausted and include:

  • a fever, sweats, and chills
  • a runny nose or congestion
  • sneezing
  • a cough
  • a sore throat
  • joint and muscle pains
  • tiredness or exhaustion
  • a headache
Common Treatments

Possible treatment we prescribe if clinically appropriate:

Tamiflu (Oseltamivir)

  • For prevention: 75mg once a day: 10-day course (£15.41*)
  • For treatment: 75mg twice a day: 5-day course (£15.41*)

*Prices shown are the cost price of the medication, taken from the British National Formulary 2018, and are given as a guideline. Pharmacies will add a dispensing fee to this which will vary considerably, so it is worthwhile phoning around to compare prices. The medication is paid for at your chosen pharmacy. 

Please click on the medication above to read the Patient Information Leaflet for important information about each drug.


Information about Tamiflu

Before you start any treatment, you should read the manufacturers leaflet contained with the medication. This has further information and lists all the potential side effects.

Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) is used to treat influenza type A and B viruses. It prevents the virus from spreading in your body, reducing the severity of your symptoms and complications.


If you are taking it for prevention, that is, you have been in contact with someone who has the flu but you do not have symptoms yourself then take one capsule a day for ten days.


If you already have flu symptoms and are taking it for treatment then take one capsule twice a day for five days. It should be started within 48 hours from when your symptoms start. The sooner it is started, the more effective it is. 

Swallow the capsules with a drink of water. You can take your doses either before or after meals, however, taking the doses after food can often reduce the risk of nausea.

Keep taking the Tamiflu until the full course is finished (unless a doctor tells you to stop), even if you feel the infection has cleared up, as it may return. If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember unless it's nearly time for your next dose. In this case, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.

Never give your medication to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Self-help for the symptoms

You can usually manage the flu at home. It is important to rest and keep warm. You may want to try the following:

Pain medication 

  • such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Read the leaflet that comes with the medication to check its suitability. This can help with the pain and fever.

Drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated

  • drink lots of cool or warm fluids, and avoid very hot drinks
  • suck on ice cubes or ice lollies 

Speak to a pharmacist for further information about over-the-counter options available to you. 

Possible side effects from Tamiflu

Most types of medicines can cause potential side effects. However, not everyone will experience them. The side effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but if any of them continue or become troublesome then speak with your doctor or pharmacist. 

The most common ones (occur in about 1 in 10 people) for Tamiflu include:

  • feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting
  • a headache
  • a cough or a blocked nose
  • flu-like symptoms
  • abdominal pain
  • difficulties sleeping
  • indigestion
Allergic reactions to medication

An itchy rash, swollen face or mouth, or difficulty in breathing, may be signs that you are allergic to the medication. 

Please note that i-GP DOES NOT TREAT Medical Emergencies. 

If you develop a sudden onset of any of the symptoms below then you must STOP the medication immediately and seek urgent medical advice. This could be from your GP, Out of Hours Service, Urgent Care Centre or NHS 111. Call an ambulance or go to A&E if the symptoms are severe.

  • Wheeze
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Swelling of the eyelids, face or lips
  • A rash particularly if affecting your entire body
When to seek further medical advice

If you develop any of the following symptoms, then it is important to seek medical advice from your GP, Out-of-Hours Service or call NHS 111, as soon as possible:

  • If you develop a persistent high fever (high temperature) which can cause shivers, that does not respond to fever-reducing medication.
  • If your pains or your headache become worse.
  • If you feel increasingly unwell (this may include nausea and vomiting).
  • If you develop any painful, red and hot joints.
  • If your symptoms do not improve after 7 days.

If you develop any of the following symptoms, then you must seek urgent medical advice immediately (from your GP, Out of Hours Service, Urgent care centre, NHS 111). Call an ambulance using 999 or go to A&E if the symptoms are severe.

  • drowsiness or confusion
  • difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
  • a severe headache
  • if you are unable to look at bright lights (photophobia)
  • chest pain
  • persistent vomiting
  • neck stiffness
  • non-blanching rash
  • coughing up blood
Precautions to help stop the flu from spreading

It is important to try to help stop the spread of the flu virus to others.

  • Use clean tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put the tissues in the bin after use.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water.
  • Keep warm and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Stay away from crowded places.
  • Avoid close contact with those who have flu-like symptoms.
The flu vaccine

The influenza vaccine can help both preventing the spread and reduces the risk of catching the flu. It is best to have it before December when the flu season starts. 

Tamiflu is not a substitute for the flu vaccine.

Certain groups of people who are at high risk of complications from the flu may receive the flu vaccine for free on the NHS. This will include pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical conditions and those over the age of 65. Please contact your GP surgery or look at the NHS Choices website to find out more. 


The flu illness tends to be more severe in older people, young children and those with chronic medical conditions. 

Complications from influenza include:

  • pneumonia
  • otitis media
  • worsening of some medical conditions

Start a flu assessment

Do you require the treatment Tamiflu?

We could assess you and send you a treatment plan with a prescription, if appropriate, within an hour.