Flu (influenza)

What doctors say*

* Official guidelines from NICE, NHS and other medical authorities.

Should antibiotics be used? >

No. Flu and other viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, unless there are secondary bacterial complications.

Likely duration if untreated >

A week or so – with recovery often taking longer.

Conventional self-care advice >

  • Rest and sleep – allowing time off for proper recovery
  • Keep warm
  • Drink adequate fluids

Opportunities for antibiotic alternatives >

In almost all cases

Note: to help get over the flu it is worth also considering remedies on the Common cold page. Both conditions could be improved by helping the body defend itself against viruses. Check also the general advice on the Fever page to manage this common aspect of flu.

Traditional home remedies worth trying


Knowledge and best practice in the health field are constantly changing.  Each person and illness is also unique and no general information can anticipate every circumstance, nor be appropriate for every reader. Each individual case is best assessed in person by a qualified health advisor.

In the case of remedies or other products, users should read the label carefully for detailed information about safe use and in the case of natural products should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and safety monitoring procedures.

To the fullest extent of the law, neither the College of Medicine nor the authors, contributors or editors, assume any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions or ideas contained in the materials herein.