The symptoms of flu are similar to a very bad cold. They include a high temperature, an aching body, tiredness and a headache.
Flu will usually get better in about a week if you rest, keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers. Antibiotics do not help with flu.
You can help avoid flu by getting the flu vaccine every year.
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:
- a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
- an aching body
- feeling tired or exhausted
- a dry cough
- a sore throat
- a headache
- difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- diarrhoea or tummy pain
- feeling sick and being sick
The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.
To help you get better more quickly:
- rest and sleep
- keep warm
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
- drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)
A pharmacist can give treatment advice and recommend flu remedies.
Be careful not to use flu remedies if you're taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it's easy to take more than the recommended dose.
The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, as well as spreading it to others.
It's more effective to get the vaccine before the start of the flu season (December to March).
Page last reviewed: 06-08-2019
Next review due:06-08-2022