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How Long Does the Flu Last?

July 18, 2022

How Long Does the Flu Last?


If you have ever experienced the flu, you know it can be totally brutal. One of the worst feelings is waking up in the middle of the night, feeling sick to your stomach and wondering how long it will last. You may even wonder if there is anything more you can do besides lying on the couch feeling miserable. 

Although it may seem bad enough that the flu can give you chills, a cough, a fever, or body aches, the flu can make you feel even more ill or lead to more serious implications. Because of this, you will most likely want the flu to go away as quickly as possible. 

If you have never had the flu, you might be wondering how long it will last or if there is anything you can do to make it go away. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to shorten the lifespan of the flu and prevent any further infections.

What Is the Flu?

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory virus caused by influenza A, B, or C. These viruses infect the nose, throat, and lungs.

The first signs of the flu may look similar to colds you may have had in the past. It is common to experience a runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat. However, although a cold can gradually increase over a few days, the flu and the accompanying symptoms usually come on abruptly. Similarly, the flu symptoms will make you feel much more ill than those of a common cold. 

Also, even though influenza is commonly called the flu, it's not the same as stomach "flu," which is a virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting.

What Causes the Flu?

Influenza is an airborne virus that can travel from person to person through droplets in the air. These droplets are present when someone who is infected with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks. You can become infected by inhaling the droplets directly or touching an object with germs and transferring them to your eyes, nose, or mouth.

This is why influenza cases spike in the winter months when people are forced to be in closer proximity to each other.

A unique quality of the flu is its ever-changing nature. New flu strains appear regularly, making it harder for your body to build up resistance. If you have had influenza in the past, there is a good chance that an entirely new strain is present, and your body does not have the correct antibodies to fight it. This is why it is common to receive a flu shot every winter. 

Symptoms of the Flu

The symptoms of the flu usually come on quickly. The most common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever 
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Muscle and body aches, headaches 
  • Tiredness and fatigue

Although some people associate the flu with gastrointestinal symptoms, these are not the primary symptoms of influenza. 

Risk Factors for the Flu

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing the flu, such as the following:

  • Age. People who most commonly get the flu are children six months to 5 years old and adults 65 years old or older.
  • Crowded Places. Living or working in crowded places increases your likelihood of developing the flu. People who are staying in the hospital also are at higher risk.
  • Weakened immune system. Any treatments or conditions that weaken the immune system will make it easier to catch the flu and increase the risk of developing complications.
  • Chronic illnesses. Chronic illnesses can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected with the flu and increase the severity of the sickness. 

How Long Does the Flu Last?

For most people, the flu does not usually last beyond a week. Although it can be incredibly important, the immune system usually can fight it off, and no further medical assistance is needed. 

Symptoms usually appear within one to four days after exposure to someone infected with the virus. Although duration will vary on the person and severity, most people will see their symptoms disappear after five to seven days. 

Some people are at increased risk for longer, more severe symptoms. These people include:

  • Young children
  • people 65 or older
  • people with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, HIV, or diabetes
  • pregnant women
  • People who struggle with obesity 
  • People with weakened immune systems and are at increased risk of pneumonia

What Are Potential Flu Complications?

If you're young and healthy, the flu usually isn't severe. However, children and adults at high risk may develop complications that may include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma flare-ups
  • Heart problems
  • Ear infections
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome

Pneumonia is one of the most serious complications that can result from the flu. If you have a chronic illness, you want to be especially careful of pneumonia, as it can be potentially harmful.

How Do I Help Treat Flu Symptoms?

You can do certain things to relieve some of the flu symptoms or shorten the duration of your sickness.

Home Remedies

If you are sick at home, liquids and rest should be prioritized. Try to sleep in a dark, quiet room at night and drink at least 64 ounces of fluids throughout the day. 

You can also take over-the-counter pain and fever relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help relieve your symptoms. Some people also find relief from a cold or warm compress or a humidifier to help relieve any pressure in their sinuses. 

Stay at home while you’re sick and for at least 24 hours after your fever has gone down. 

Prescription Treatments 

There are four FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by CDC to treat flu (season depending). Oseltamivir phosphate (available as a generic version or under the trade name Tamiflu®), Xanamivir (trade name Relenza®), Peramivir (trade name Rapivab®), and Baloxavir marboxil (trade name Xofluza®). Empiric antiviral treatment may be started as soon as possible in patients who are most at risk of developing complications. We can also consider early empiric antiviral treatment of non-high-risk with suspected influenza [e.g., influenza-like illness (fever with either cough or sore throat)] based upon our partner physicians clinical judgment, if treatment can be initiated within 48 hours of illness onset.

Starting IV Therapy

If you have the flu or even flu-like symptoms, you will want to focus on hydration and give your body the right vitamins and nutrients. First, it will be important to drink plenty of fluids, rest as much as possible, and slowly introduce easy-to-digest foods, such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. 

However, the most efficient way to give your body what it needs is to receive an I.V. therapy treatment.

IV therapy and IV nutrition help the body receive different vitamins and supplements infusions through an IV. An I.V. Therapy treatment targeted toward the symptoms produced by the flu which will help fight nausea and vomiting. It will supply your body with vitamin C and other vitamins and electrolytes that help you get over your sickness.

So what are you waiting for? Schedule your Flu Relief I.V. therapy treatment with the I.V. doc today!

Does IV Therapy Really Work?

IV therapy is the fastest way to deliver essential nutrients to your body. Suppose you are solely providing vitamins and nutrients to your body orally. In that case, they must first pass through your digestive system, which can lead to vitamins and nutrients lost or not properly absorbed.

When you use an IV treatment to administer vitamins and nutrients to your body, they go straight to your bloodstream, and you will be able to see the effects almost immediately.

If you are looking for a reliable way to feel relief from flu symptoms as fast as possible, then IV Therapy is exactly what you are looking for. 

Additionally, IV therapy allows nutrients to be provided to the body for people with digestive issues that wouldn’t have otherwise been absorbed. 

Healthy Habits To Help Prevent Flu

The yearly flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months or older. This will ensure that your body has what it needs to fight the newest strain of the virus, and it can reduce your risk of severe symptoms or any complications that may occur along the way.

Every seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect your body from the strains of the flu virus that are expected to be most common during that year’s flu season. However, the influenza vaccine isn't 100% effective, so you should also do what you can to prevent yourself or others from getting sick. 

Healthy habits to help prevent flu include: 

  • Wash your hands. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially during the winter months 
  • Avoid touching your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Then wash your hands.
  • Clean surfaces. The flu can also travel by touching shared surfaces and then touching your face, so regularly cleaning surfaces in your work or home can reduce your risk of becoming infected.
  • Avoid crowds. The flu spreads quickly. Avoiding crowds during peak flu season reduces your chances of infection.


While the flu can be pretty miserable, it is extremely common and usually clears up within a week. There are also ways to try and avoid getting the flu, such as receiving your yearly flu shot, washing your hands, and avoiding crowds. 

If you are looking to relieve or shorten your flu symptoms, the best and most efficient way to nourish your body is to receive IV Therapy Treatment. This will flood your body with the proper hydration and vitamins necessary for recovery. 

Sign up for your IV therapy treatment with The I.V. Doc today!



People at Higher Risk of Flu Complications | CDC

Influenza (flu) - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

How long does the flu last? - Harvard Health

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