Most cases of the flu will not require any medical treatment. Most people will be able to recuperate from the flu at home by getting plenty of rest, drinking clear liquids to keep hydrated, and watching for signs of more serious illness. Many people also find that medications to reduce their fever (such as acetaminophen) help them feel better while they are sick with the flu.
If you are at high risk for complications of the flu, your doctor may want to prescribe antiviral medications for you. Antiviral drugs can make your illness milder, and they will likely help you feel better faster. They can also prevent you from catching the flu. If someone close to you gets the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs for you.
The medications seem to be most effective when started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, so if you're at high risk for complications, it's important to talk to your doctor when you first start feeling sick.
Some types of antiviral medications may be effective against the flu. For more information about antiviral medications, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services flu Web site.