Influenza (the flu) – What can you do? part 8

Over-the-counter medicine for adults

Over-the-counter medicine can help you feel better if you have the flu.
  • You don’t need a prescription.

Try to use medicine that treats only one symptom at a time. For example:

For fever and body aches
  • Use acetaminophen. Look for Tylenol® or another brand.


image of medice bottle
  • Use ibuprofen. Look for Advil®, Motrin® or another brand.
image of medicine bottle
For a dry cough

Sometimes a cough can keep you awake at night.

  • Try cough syrup with dextromethorphan (DM).
image of lozenge box

For a sore throat

  • Use throat lozenges. They help numb the throat. Look for lozenges with dyclonine. For example: Sucrets®.


Follow the instructions for medicine carefully.

  • If you have questions, talk to a pharmacist or call Health Link Alberta. Tell them all the medicine you are taking. For example:
    • Over-the-counter medicine;
    • Prescriptions; or
    • Traditional medicine (herbs).

Ask about side effects. For example, a medicine might irritate your stomach.

  • Keep all medicine away from children.


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