Influenza (Flu)


In periods of widespread flu, testing may not be necessary. Healthcare providers might diagnose individuals based on their symptoms

Generally, the diagnosis of flu begins with assessing the symptoms and conducting a test using a mucus sample from the nose. This involves inserting a gentletipped long stick or swab into the nose to check for influenza. Results may be available within a few minutes, or the sample may be sent to a laboratory, where results are expected within a day or two

Various tests are available for diagnosing the flu. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is more sensitive than other tests and has the potential to detect the influenza strain. It is now increasingly common in many hospitals and laboratories.


For the majority of individuals, flu symptoms can be managed by using overthecounter (OTC) medications and practicing selfcare measures like getting sufficient rest, drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, and using heat packs or hot water bottles to relieve muscle aches.

If you have a severe infection or are at an increased risk of complications, healthcare professionals may recommend antiviral medications as a treatment for the flu. These antiviral drugs can reduce the duration of the illness and decrease the likelihood of developing a severe condition.

Antiviral drugs for influenza include

  • Oseltamivir: This medication is administered orally in pill or liquid form for several days
  • Baloxavir: This drug is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, those hospitalized, or those with specific medical conditions. Baloxavir is taken orally as a pill or liquid in a single dose
  • Zanamivir: A device resembling an asthma inhaler is used to inhale zanamivir. It is not recommended for individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD.
  • Peramivir: This is a singledosage intravenous medication that may be recommended to hospitalized patients

Each antiviral medication comes with its own set of side effects, which can commonly include symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, these side effects may be lessened if the medication is taken with food. Inhaled medications can sometimes trigger spasms that lead to the constriction and narrowing of airways.

It’s generally recommended to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before using specific overthecounter medications, as not all individuals should take certain drugs. Additionally, it’s advisable to confirm the compatibility of medications or supplements when using them in combination.

It’s important to note that aspirin should not be administered to children under the age of 16 without prior approval from their healthcare provider.