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Read the page on preventing flu for more information about stopping the infection spreading to others.

In 2009, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended that doctors should consider treating people in the at-risk groups mentioned above with the antiviral medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) to reduce the risk of complications of flu.

Most people will make a full recovery and won't experience any further problems, but elderly people and people with certain long-term medical conditions are more likely to have a bad case of flu or develop a serious complication, such as a chest infection.

Read more about the complications of flu The flu virus is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. They hang suspended in the air for a while before landing on surfaces, where the virus can survive for up to 24 hours. You can also catch the virus by touching the surfaces that the droplets have landed on if you pick up the virus on your hands and then touch your nose or mouth.

In the light of this evidence, Public Health England says it is important that doctors treating severely unwell patients continue to prescribe these drugs where appropriate.

For more information read the NICE guidelines on antivirals to treat influenza.

Antivirals work by stopping the flu virus from multiplying in the body.

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You should just rest at home until you feel better, while keeping warm, drinking plenty of water and taking painkillers if necessary.You can catch flu many times because flu viruses change regularly and your body won't have a natural resistance to the new versions.You can help stop yourself catching flu or spreading it to others with good hygiene measures.In some people at risk of more serious flu, an annual flu vaccine or antiviral medication may be recommended to help reduce the risk of becoming infected.Read more about how to stop the spread of flu The symptoms of flu usually develop within 1 to 3 days of becoming infected. However, you may have a lingering cough and still feel very tired for a further couple of weeks.

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