Act fast to fight back against the flu!

Many studies have shown that antiviral flu medications work best when you take them within 48 hours of developing  first symptoms of the flu.1



Get better,


Taking a flu antiviral treatment within two days of developing symptoms offers the best results to ease its severity and shorten your illness.1  By acting quickly when you notice the early signs of the flu, you can give your body the very best chance to start getting better.

The most important thing is to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as you suspect you might have the flu. They’ll then be able to recommend the best treatment plan for you.


The three stages of the flu

  1. The first symptoms of the flu often include a fever and aching muscles, along with a headache, sore throat, coughing and extreme tiredness.2 Unlike a cold, early flu symptoms usually come on very suddenly, with little warning.3,4
    This is the best time to speak to your doctor about flu medications.
  2. Most flu symptoms tend to improve within one week, but coughing and tiredness may last longer.2 You’ll probably have to put your daily routine on hold while you rest in bed.
  3. As long as no complications develop, you’ll start to feel a little better after a few days as your body (and the antiviral medication) fights back against the flu virus.4 However, you may continue to feel tired for some time.2
A picture of creased tissue

How long does the flu last?

The flu usually lasts between one and two weeks, but flu symptoms and recovery times can vary dramatically from one patient to another.5 Complications can make the illness last much longer and could result in hospitalization, or even death, in the most severe cases.4,6

How does the flu spread?

The flu can easily spread from person to person.7 The virus particles released into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks can land in a neighbor's  mouth or nose, or can be inhaled into their lungs. People can also get the flu by simply touching their mouth or nose after touching something that the virus particles have landed on.7  The flu is most contagious in the first 3 to 4 days,7 and even before symptoms occur.

There are a lot of misconceptions about the flu, its treatment and prevention. Click here to separate the fact from the fiction


Think you’ve got the flu? Call or visit your doctor to discuss if an antiviral flu medication might be right for you

If you get sick this flu season, it’s important to speak to your doctor or health care provider as soon as possible.

Find out more about the flu in your local area using the MOH Weekly Infectious Diseases Bulletin.


  1. Lehnert R et al. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2016; 113(47): 799–807.
  2. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Flu: Overview, 2016. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072643/#i2352.symptoms Last accessed: November 2018.
  3. Banning M. Br J Nurs 2005; 14(22): 1192–1197.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu Symptoms & Complications, 2018. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/symptoms.htm Last accessed: November 2018. 
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2008; 57: RR-7. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5707.pdf Last accessed: November 2018.
  6. Mertz D et al. BMJ 2013; 347: f5061.
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How flu spreads. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm Last accessed: November 2018.8. Stiver G. CMAJ 2003; 168(1): 49–56.