Man needing flu treatment with one hand over his stomach and other hand over his mouth

Can you get flu treatment online?

Written on December 20, 2022 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

About the flu

According to the Mayo Clinic, the “Flu (influenza) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs, which are part of the respiratory system. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach ‘flu’ viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting” [1].

Getting the flu can be miserable, but luckily, you can receive treatment for the flu via telemedicine.


It is believed that flu viruses spread via little droplets (of saliva, for example) that are released into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets infect others by landing in nearby people’s mouths or noses, or they land on surfaces that are touched by others (who then touch their mouths, noses, or eyes) [2].

Regarding contagiousness, the CDC asserts that “people with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins,” though “otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick” [2].

Flu Season

You’ve likely heard of “flu season,” which refers to the period of time when there is an increase in flu activity — this is usually during fall and winter: “The exact timing and duration of flu season varies, but flu activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the timing and duration of flu activity has been less predictable” [3].

High-Risk Communities

Usually, the flu will run its course with no serious complications, but some groups of people/communities are at a higher risk for complications. Some of these groups include [1]:

  • Young children under age 2
  • Adults older than age 65
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who are pregnant or plan to be pregnant during flu season
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • American Indians or Alaska Natives
  • People who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes
  • People with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher

Complications of the flu can include “pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, … diabetes” and even death [2].

The CDC states, “children younger than 18 are more than twice as likely to develop a symptomatic flu virus infection than adults 65 and older” [2].

Signs and symptoms

The flu is easily confused with a common cold, allergies, or COVID-19 at first, but the difference between the two is the flu comes on suddenly when colds typically develop more slowly [4].

According to the Mayo Clinic, common flu symptoms include [4]:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue/sleepiness
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Eye pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

When to seek care

Many people who get the flu are able to tough it out, but if you are someone who is at a higher risk of complications or you are experiencing extreme symptoms, “Taking antiviral medication may shorten the length of your illness and help prevent more-serious problems” [4].

Emergency symptoms include the following [4]:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Ongoing dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Worsening of existing medical conditions
  • Severe weakness or muscle pain
  • Dehydration
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds — depending on skin color

If you experience any of the above, you should seek emergency care immediately.

Online flu treatment

If the flu has you holed up on your couch, the last thing you want to do is drag yourself to the doctor’s office — that’s part of the reason why Everlywell’s same-day video appointments with clinicians can provide you with an immediate flu treatment plan.

With telehealth from Everlywell, you are just three simple steps away from talking to a provider about your prescriptions:

  1. Create your profile online, fill out your medical history, and check to see if your insurance is accepted.
  2. Schedule your online visit for flu treatment.
  3. Receive a care plan to address your needs and symptoms, which may include testing, prescriptions, and lifestyle recommendations.

Treatments for the flu “consist of antiviral medicines — three commonly prescribed drugs include oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), zanamivir (Relenza®), and peramivir (Rapivab®). These medications, which can help treat Influenza A and B, work by interfering with an enzyme (neuraminidase) on the surface of the virus, which then prevents the release of more virus particles from infected host cells.” Your Everlywell provider can prescribe these antivirals for you if needed.

Can you treat the flu without going to the doctor or healthcare provider?

Is telehealth cheaper than an office visit?

What drugs can telehealth providers prescribe?

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  1. Influenza (flu). Mayo Clinic. URL. Published October 15, 2022. Accessed December 15, 2022.
  2. Influenza (flu). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published October 24, 2022. Accessed December 15, 2022.
  3. Flu season. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published September 20, 2022. Accessed December 15, 2022.
  4. Influenza (flu). Mayo Clinic. URL. Published October 15, 2022. Accessed December 15, 2022.
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