Relieving Flu Symptoms

Over the counter (OTC) flu treatments

There are several options available for temporary relief of flu symptoms.

Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments are medications you can get without a prescription from your doctor, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, which are available at a pharmacy or grocery store. People who experience flu-like symptoms may take OTC medications (such as pain relievers and decongestants) to relieve these discomforts.

Common OTC Medicines Include:

  • Analgesics — Relieve aches and pains, and reduce fever.
  • Antihistamines — Work by helping dry a runny nose and watery eyes by blocking histamines; they often cause drowsiness.
  • Expectorants — Work by thinning mucus so that it can be coughed up more easily.
  • Cough suppressants — Work by quieting a cough. They are usually recommended for dry (non–mucus-producing) coughs.
  • Decongestants — Work by reducing nasal congestion.

Please see your doctor or pharmacist for information on these medications.