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How Long Does the Flu Last?


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

How Long Does the Flu Last?
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When the flu hits you, one of the first things you want to know is how long it's going to last. Unfortunately, the exhaustion, coughing, fever and fatigue will probably knock you down at least for a few days.

For most people, the flu lasts anywhere from about three days to two weeks. If it lasts much longer than two weeks, you may have developed a secondary infection or one of these common flu complications.

If you have had symptoms for less than 48 hours, you may want to contact your health care provider to see if antiviral medications would be right for you and your symptoms. For some people, they can help shorten the severity and duration of the flu.

Additionally, if you had your flu shot this flu season and you still get the flu, your symptoms will probably be less severe than they would have been had you not had the flu vaccine.


"Flu Symptoms & Severity." Seasonal Influenza (Flu) 8 Feb 11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 18 Apr 11.

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