Can Children Take Antiviral Drugs
Yes, though this varies by medication. Oseltamivir is recommended by CDC for treatment of flu in children beginning from birth and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends oseltamivir for treatment of flu in children 2 weeks old or older. Zanamivir is approved for early treatment of flu in people 7 years and older, though it is not recommended for use in children with underlying respiratory disease, including asthma and other chronic lung diseases. Peramivir is recommended for early treatment in people 2 years and older. Baloxavir is approved for early treatment of flu in people 12 years and older.
If your childs health care provider prescribes oseltamivir capsules for your child and your child cannot swallow capsules, the prescribed capsules may be opened, mixed with a thick sweetened liquid, and given that way. Learn more here.
Combination Cough And Cold Medicines
Cough and cold medicines are often used for symptom relief however its important to know there is not enough evidence showing they work well, particularly in children.
Cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under 6. You should ask a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner for advice before giving cough and cold medicines to children aged 6 to 11 years.
Cough and cold medicines often contain paracetamol, so it is important to check the label to avoid doubling up and taking other medicines that also contain paracetamol.
Surgical And Respiratory Masks
If you’ve recently walked into a doctors waiting room, or even your local mall, youve probably seen people wearing paper masks over their mouths and noses.
While most studies on masks have been done in healthcare settings, some suggest they may help stave off flu in other situations, too.
One University of Michigan study, for example, found that college students living in dorms who wore face masks and practiced good hand hygiene for six weeks had lower rates of flu-like illnesses than those who didnt.
The mask may help block the flu virus, which travels through the air in droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, Lipman explains. It may also help prevent you from passing the virus from your hands to your mouth or nose.
If youre at high risk of flu complicationsfor example, youre over age 65 or have a compromised immune systemconsider wearing masks whenever you are in a crowded area, such as a full movie theater, Lipman says. And wear one if you’re sick and are going to be around other people, or are caring for someone with the flu.
Last, consider a mask if you’re going to a doctor’s office, or if you’re traveling on an airplane, especially if people around you seem sick.
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If You Have Difficulty Swallowing Capsules Your Doctor May Tell You To Open The Capsule And Mix The Contents With A Sweetened Liquid To Prepare Doses Of Oseltamivir For People Who Cannot Swallow The Capsules:
Continue to take oseltamivir until you finish the prescription, even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking oseltamivir without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking oseltamivir too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be fully treated, or you may not be protected from the flu.
If you feel worse or develop new symptoms while taking oseltamivir, or if your flu symptoms do not start to get better, call your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Can Pregnant People Take Antiviral Drugs
Yes. Oral oseltamivir is recommended for treatment of pregnant people with flu because compared to other recommended antiviral medications, it has the most studies available to suggest that it is safe and beneficial during pregnancy. Baloxavir is not recommended for pregnant people or while breastfeeding, as there are no available efficacy or safety data.
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Who Should Get An Annual Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following groups receive an annual flu vaccine shot between November and February :
- All people aged six months and older.
It is especially important for certain individuals at high risk of flu complications and those who come in contact with people at high risk of complications to receive the flu vaccine. These people at high risk include:
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver disorders and chronic lung diseases.
- People with a weakened immune system, for example, people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or chronic steroid users.
- Household members and caregivers of patients at risk of complications from the flu.
- Women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season .
- Healthcare workers who come into close contact with patients in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare facilities.
- Infants and children ages six months through 18 years who are taking long-term aspirin therapy. This puts these individuals at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after flu infection.
- American Indians/Alaska natives.
- People who have close contact with children under five years of age for example, people who live with children, nannies and providers of daycare services.
- People who are morbidly obese .
What Should I Do If I Think I Am Sick With Flu
If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs are a treatment option. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at higher risk of serious flu complications and you develop flu symptoms. Flu signs and symptoms can include feeling feverish or having a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu illness.
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How Should This Medicine Be Used
Oseltamivir comes as a capsule and a suspension to take by mouth. When oseltamivir is used to treat flu symptoms, it is usually taken two times a day for 5 days. When oseltamivir is used to prevent flu, it is usually taken once a day for at least 10 days, or for up to 6 weeks during a community flu outbreak. Oseltamivir may be taken with or without food, but is less likely to cause upset stomach if it is taken with food or milk. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand. Take oseltamivir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Antiviral Drugs
Side effects vary for each medication. The most common side effects for oseltamivir are nausea and vomiting. Zanamivir can cause bronchospasm, and peramivir can cause diarrhea. Other less common side effects also have been reported. Your health care provider can give you more information about these drugs or you can check the Food and Drug Administration websiteexternal icon for specific information about antiviral drugs, including the manufacturers package insert.
Parents, if your child gets sick with flu, antiviral drugs offer a safe and effective treatment option. For treatment, influenza antiviral drugs should ideally be started within 2 days after becoming sick and taken according to your doctors instructions .
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What Are Other Ways To Treat And Prevent The Flu
Antiviral prescription medicines and an annual flu vaccine are available for treating and preventing the flu.
Prescription anti-flu medicines include amantadine , rimantadine , zanamivir and oseltamivir . These drugs do not cure the flu, but they can make the symptoms milder and make you feel better more quickly. They are only effective when used in the first 48 hours of flu-like symptoms.
These drugs are not needed for healthy people who get the flu. They are usually reserved for people who are very sick with the flu or those who are at risk of complications from the flu, such as people with long-term chronic medical conditions or older age.
Flu vaccine . Although there is currently no vaccine against the common cold, there is a vaccine to prevent the flu. The vaccine is available by both shot and nasal spray. It works by exposing the immune system to the viruses. The body responds by building antibodies against the flu. The flu shot contains dead flu viruses. The nasal spray contains live, but weakened, flu viruses. The nasal spray is only approved for healthy children and adults two to 49 years old and who are not pregnant.
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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Who Should Take Antiviral Drugs
Its very important that flu antiviral drugs are started as soon as possible to treat patients who are hospitalized with flu, people who are very sick with flu but who do not need to be hospitalized, and people who are at higher risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health, if they develop flu symptoms. Although other people with mild illness who are not at higher risk of flu complications may also be treated early with antiviral drugs by their doctor, most people who are otherwise healthy and not at higher risk for flu complications do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.
Following is a list of all the health and age factors that are known to increase a persons risk of getting serious complications from flu:
- Blood disorders
- Chronic lung disease
- Endocrine disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- People who are obese with a body mass index of 40 or higher
- People younger than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
- People with a weakened immune system due to disease or medications
Other people at higher risk from flu:
Flu Shot And Antiviral Drugs
Newspapers and TV stations around the U.S. have reported that some consumers are having difficulty finding the flu vaccine and prescription antiviral medications such as oseltamivir and zanamivir . These drugs can reduce flu symptoms somewhat and may shorten the course of the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there have been spot shortages of the vaccine and the antivirals, particularly of generic oseltamivir in capsule and powder form .
If you havent had the vaccine yet and your doctor’s office doesn’t have it, check the CDCs Flu Vaccine Finder or the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to see where its available in your area. Confirm by phone before you go and be aware, says the CDC, that you may not have a choice about which flu shot you get.
If you have just come down with the flu and your doctor thinks you’re a candidate for an antiviralmost otherwise healthy people generally are notit may take a bit of detective work to find it, says Michael Hochman, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Gehr Center for Health Systems Science at the Keck School of Medicine at USC in Los Angeles.
If cost is a concern, know that many health insurers are currently covering Tamiflu as a generic or at the lowest cost “tier” for brand-name drugs. You can also check websites such as GoodRx, where you can download a coupon that will let you purchase oseltamivir at Walmart for just under $52.
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Flu Medicine For Children
Children can take some types of flu medicine, but other types may be unsafe. Children can take prescription flu medicines based on their age, as listed above for each of the four FDA-approved antiviral medications approved.
The OTC flu medicines that children can use also depend on the childs age and the medication. Always follow the directions on the OTC medication package and talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist if youre unsure.
Alternatives For Treatment Of Influenza
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat the flu include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every person ages 6 months and older who is healthy enough to get a flu vaccine get one. Getting vaccinated helps to prevent influenza infections and spreading the virus between people.
Most flu vaccines are given by injection . However, the FluMist vaccine is given as a nasal spray. The CDC recommends that you receive a flu vaccine each year. Talk with your doctor for more information about the different types of vaccines, and to schedule a time to get your flu vaccine.
You may wonder how Tamiflu compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Tamiflu and Xofluza are alike and different.
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What Antiviral Drugs Are Recommended
There are two antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC and approved by the FDA for flu treatment.These are oseltamivir and zanamivir . Tamiflu® comes as apill or liquid, and Relenza® is an inhaled powder. These drugs have been in use since 1999. There are nogeneric flu antiviral drugs.
- People younger than 19 years of age on longtermaspirin therapy
- People with chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease
- People with weakened immune systems dueto disease or medication
Other people at high risk from the flu:
- Adults 65 years and older
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeksfrom end of pregnancy
- American Indians and Alaska Natives
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Peramivir injection is used to treat certain types of influenza infection in adults and children 2 years of age and older who have had symptoms of the flu for no longer than 2 days. Peramivir injection is in a class of medications called neuraminidase inhibitors. It works by stopping the spread of the flu virus in the body. Peramivir injection helps shorten the time that flu symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, muscle or joint aches, tiredness, headache, fever, and chills last. Peramivir injection will not prevent bacterial infections, which may occur as a complication of the flu.
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/7treatment During Spanish Flu
US Navy nurse Josie Mabel Brown recalled serving in 1918 at the Naval Station Great Lakes near Chicago and said, There were so many patients we didnt have time to treat them. We didnt take temperatures we didnt even have time to take blood pressure. We would give them a little hot whiskey toddy thats about all we had time to do. They would have terrific nosebleeds with it. Some were delirious and some had their lungs punctured. Then their bodies would fill with air. You would see them with bubbles all through their arms. Oh, it was a horrid thing. We had to wear operating masks and gowns all the time. It was 16 hours a day until the epidemic was over. I suppose no one knows how many died. They just lost track of them.
More Advice About Flu And Flu Prevention
Reducing your chances of picking up flu germs will lower your risk of becoming infected. You should:
- wash your hands regularly with water and soap, particularly before touching your mouth or eating
- regularly clean surfaces which accumulate germs such as door handles and computer keyboards
- sneeze or cough into tissues
- dont leave tissues lying around, but instead put them into the bin as soon as possible
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Is The Flu Curable
Over-the-counter medications can help with symptom relief, but not even prescription antiviral medications can cure the flu.
The above medications can decrease the duration and severity of influenza, but it isnt a cure, says James Wilk, MD, internal medicine physician at UCHealth Primary Care Steele Street in Denver. Fortunately, influenza runs its course within a week or two.
Tamiflu And Flu Vaccines
There are two types of flu vaccines: inactive and live .
If you receive the live influenza vaccine while youre taking Tamiflu, it may be less effective to protect you from the flu. This is because the antiviral drug contained in Tamiflu will attack and kill the live virus given to you in the vaccine.
However, you may be able to receive the inactive flu vaccine, which does not contain live virus, while youre taking Tamiflu.
If you have the flu, or youre taking Tamiflu, talk with your doctor about your options for receiving a flu vaccination.
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