Why treat the flu within 48 hours?

Many of you are not helpless against the flu. Antivirals can help you get back to your normal life quickly.1,2

Studies have shown that antivirals work best when you take them within 48 hours of noticing symptoms. This is why it is recommended that you ask your doctor for a flu antiviral within 48 hours of developing symptoms.1,2


This will not only give your body the very best chance to start getting better, but it can ease the flu’s severity and shorten your illness.1,2

As soon as you suspect you might have the flu, make sure you talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. They’ll then be able to recommend the best treatment plan for you.

The three stages of the flu

  1. After the flu virus enters the body, it usually takes 1–4 days before symptoms develop. Most people can start spreading the virus a day before they notice symptoms.3
  2. The first symptoms of the flu often include a fever and aching muscles, along with a headache, sore throat, coughing and extreme tiredness.4 Unlike a cold, early flu symptoms usually come on very suddenly, with little warning.5,6 Speak to your doctor and ask for more information about flu antivirals within 48 hours of noticing these symptoms.1
  3. Most flu symptoms tend to improve within one week but coughing and tiredness may last longer.4 You’ll probably have to put your daily routine on hold while you rest in bed. But with an antiviral, you can help put an end to symptoms sooner than leaving the flu untreated.2
A picture of virus

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.7

Complications can make the illness last much longer and could result in hospitalisation, or even death, in the most severe cases.5,8

Speak to your doctor within 48 hours of noticing flu symptoms to get back to your daily life fast1,2

With telemedicine, it’s now possible to get in touch with your doctor and ask about antivirals without leaving your home.

There are a lot of misconceptions about the flu, its treatment, and prevention.
Click here to find out what’s true and what’s false


Antiviral treatments can help you beat the flu.2,9,10

Ask your doctor if an antiviral is right for you.

It’s important to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible.


  1. Lehnert R et al. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2016; 113(47): 799–807.
  2. Allen UD et al. Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol 2006; 17(5): 273–284.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). How flu spreads. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm. Last accessed: October 2020.
  4. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Flu: Overview, 2016. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072643/#i2352.symptoms. Last accessed: October 2020.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Flu symptoms and complications, 2018. Available from: www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm. Last accessed: October 2020.
  6. Banning M. Br J Nurs 2005; 14(22): 1192–1197.
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2008; 57: RR-7. Available from: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5707.pdf. Last accessed: October 2020.
  8. Mertz D et al. BMJ 2013; 347: f5061.
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What You Should Know About Influenza (Flu) Antiviral Drugs: Fact Sheet, 2018. Available from: www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/antiviral-factsheet-updated.pdf. Last accessed: October 2020.
  10. Stiver G. CMAJ 2003; 168(1): 49–56.