How Long Does the Flu Last?

Flu is an acute infectious disease of respiratory passages. It is less common than colds but both illnesses have similar symptoms. The main symptoms including aching muscles, headache, chills, sore throat, runny nose and stomach upset appear at the hardest period for the body which fights with the virus from 4 to 5 day and the recovery period is up to 14 days.

Track Your Symptoms

Day 1-2

Symptoms: Attacked by the virus, you feel shiver, dizzy, a headache and a high temperature which usually goes down in 2 days. The muscles on the back and legs ache. In case of a cold, you will not identify any symptoms as it is its incubation stage.

Even several seconds are enough for the infected droplets to reach your nose. During the first two day the virus is reproducing itself in your body.

Recommendations: It is recommended to stay in bed, have rest and drink much water and tea. The pain and temperature can be reduced by ibuprofen and paracetamol. Echinacea is also an effective anti-inflammatory product which can be taken in tablets (2 of them three times a day) or as a cup of tea (five cups on the first day and 1 cup until a total recovery). Moreover, you can use some natural methods like drinking hot tea with honey, ginger and lemon.

Day 2-3

Symptoms: The temperature should drop if you have a flu and you notice similar symptoms to those which appear in case of a cold. The nose starts to tickle and run, also you feel soreness there, in the throat or in the eyes. Sore throat intensifies and a cough appears (it is usually dry). You sneeze a lot.

This unpleasant feeling in the nose is conditioned by the chemicals released by your body performing its defending function. The chemical irritate the cell in the throat and nose making you sneeze and cough. Moreover, there is much mucus produced by the nose to wash out the cells attacked by the virus. This intensive fight of your body with the virus is the reason of your tiredness and bad condition.

Recommendations: You should still stay at home in order not to make other people sick. Keep the air in your room fresh and moisturized. It is necessary to continue drinking much fluid. And to have a cough lozenge, a spray or a syrup to ease coughing. Sea salt nasal spray is great to wash the nose and keep it moisturized even for the youngest kids.

Day 3-5

Symptoms: Slight fever can get back to you, but the most problematic zone is the nose. There is much thick and yellow discharge, it is blocked up and stuffy what causes pain around the eyes and headache.

The body produces white blood cells which are mixed with mucus. This mixture overflows the nasal canal and causes a productive cough to make you get rid of it. As a result, your voice can be wheezy.

Recommendations: Ibuprofen or paracetamol can reduce the temperature, if it comes back. To help your respiratory system to recover it is beneficial to use essential oils besides steam inhalations. You can put several drops of the following essential oils to an aroma lamp to support your immune system and sanitize the atmosphere: eucalyptus, mint, tea tree, lavender, cedar, rosemary, lemon, thyme. Also you can use oregano in drops or capsules for its antiviral features.

Day 5-14

You start to feel better and the symptoms of flu disappear. It may take you two weeks to stop coughing while chest and nose tissues are shrinking down after being swollen during the illness.

Call Your Doctor!

Meanwhile, there are certain conditions when you have to contact a doctor including the following:

  • you have chronic diseases;
  • you are pregnant;
  • your child under 1 year old is sick;
  • your condition does not get better in 7 days (5 days in case of a child);
  • your condition gets worse suddenly.

Flu Precautions

  • Do not visit crowded places and events during the flu season.
  • Do not contact people with flu symptoms.
  • Wash your hands with soap regularly.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth by dirty hands.
  • Air and clean your home regularly.
  • Take vitamins, eat more raw fruit and vegetable.

Stock up Medications in Advance

As we have already mentioned, ibuprofen (Advil) and paracetamol will help you to reduce fever and ease muscle pains and headache. It is possible to treat flu only for 2 days with Tamiflu and Relenza in case you are at high risk group of flu complications. Mucinex is an expectorant for loosening mucus and relieving chest congestion, Robitussin is also good for this. To stop running from nose it is useful to get Chlor-Trimeton.

As for the children, the advice about taking plenty of fluids is also applicable for them, especially, for babies under 1 year old. To lower high temperature of a child, you can also use children’s medication containing ibuprofen or paracetamol. It is helpful to wash your kid’s nose with sea salt water spray (and for yourself, as a preventive measure). When your child completes 6 years old, he or she can be treated with a wide range of remedies.


Flu vaccination is considered to be the most efficient preventive measure. It minimizes chances to catch the virus and eases the disease course. The best time for the immunization is autumn before the possible increase of flu and colds. The immunity is shaped within 14 days after the shot and it preserves during the whole season. It is highly recommended to have annual flu vaccination for the following groups of people:

  • students and pupils;
  • children attending pre-school institutions;
  • adults working with people (teachers, doctors, drivers, shop-assistants, etc.);
  • adults over 60 years old;
  • people suffering from chronic somatic diseases.

Flu is a hard illness that can attack absolutely any person. However, there are efficient preventive measures and remedies including natural solutions in case you catch it. Even if some hot tea and lots of tissues are the only treat you apply, the virus will leave your body within 14 days if you have no special conditions for complications.

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