Why treat the flu within 48 hours?

Many studies have shown that antiviral flu medications work best when you take them within 48 hours of developing flu symptoms.1


Take a flu antiviral treatment within 48 hours of developing symptoms to ease the flu’s severity and shorten your illness.1 By acting quickly when you notice the early signs of the flu, you can give your body the very best chance to start getting better.

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.

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.2

Complications can make the illness last much longer and could result in hospitalisation, or even death, in the most severe cases.3,4

How does the flu spread?

The flu can easily spread from person to person.5 The virus particles are released into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These particles can then land in the mouth or nose of someone close by, or be inhaled into their lungs. People can also get the flu by simply touching their mouth or nose after touching something that the virus particles have landed on.5   

The flu is most contagious in the first 3 to 4 days, and you can still spread the virus to other people even before symptoms occur.5 

When antivirals are used, the number of virus particles being made and released by a person (also known as ‘viral load’) is reduced.6 

There are a lot of misconceptions about the flu, its treatment, and prevention. Click here to separate the fact from the fiction

Beat the flu without leaving your home

If getting to a clinic is inconvenient, you can now speak to a doctor
at home via a telemedicine provider.

Doctor World, an independent medical service, connects you to Singapore-licensed GPs any time or place via a secure mobile app. The 24/7 consultation service includes delivery of medicine within 3 hours, and issuance of an electronic medical certificate for eligible patients.


  1. Lehnert R et al. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2016; 113(47): 799–807.
  2. Centers for Disease control and prevention (CDC). Morbidity and mortality Weekly Report, 20008; 57: RR-7. Available from: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5707.pdf.  Last accessed: February 2020.
  3. Centers for Disease control and prevention (CDC). Flu symptoms and complications. Available from: www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm.  Last accessed: February 2020.
  4. Mertz D et al. BMJ 2013; 347: f5061.
  5. Centers for Disease control and prevention (CDC). How flu spreads. Available from: www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm. Last accessed: February 2020.
  6. Stiver G. CMAJ 2003; 168(1): 49–56.