April 29th, 2009
04:55 PM ET

New Swine Flu FAQs – How should the new flu be treated?

Program Note: What are your questions about the flu? Tune in tonight for answers on AC360° at 11 p.m. ET.

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Here are some of your most frequently asked questions about treatment and medication for the swine flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that it would begin referring to the illness as the 2009 H1N1 virus.

What medicine is available if I get sick with the swine flu?

CNN: The antiviral medicines Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) have shown they can kill the new flu strain. You should take the medicine within two days of contracting the flu. The medicine is more effective when taken in the early phase of the infection.

At this time, CDC recommends the use of Tamiflu or Relenza for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses. The federal government is releasing nearly 13 million doses of antiviral medications to states to stem the spread of swine flu.

Meanwhile, national health officials said in a news conference Wednesday that efforts are under way to create a vaccine against the new strain of flu.

Should I take an anti-viral medicine now to be safe?

CNN: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking Tamiflu or Relenza as a precaution only for people living in households with someone who may be sick with swine flu. Even then, the CDC recommends these medicines for those under 5, over 65, or pregnant.

The CDC also recommends the drugs for schoolchildren with chronic medical conditions who have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed, probable or suspected swine flu case. Also, old, young, or pregnant travelers to Mexico, or those traveling to Mexico with chronic medical conditions. Health care workers, first responders, and border workers in areas with confirmed cases of swine flu should also be considered taking anti-viral medication as a precaution, the CDC says.

How would a pregnant woman be treated for the swine flu?

CNN: The CDC recommends that pregnant women who meet current case definitions for confirmed, probable or suspected swine flu infection should receive treatments that are used for people who are at higher risk of complications. Treatment guidance for clinicians treating pregnant women is on the CDC Web site.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Public Health
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Melvin Stigler

    Is the swine flu species specific?

    April 29, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  2. Lilibeth

    What is the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic? Is the current swine flu outbreak a pandemic?

    April 29, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  3. Lilibeth

    How does this H1N1 virus differ from the H1N1 that caused the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-1919?

    April 29, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  4. Arthea Larson

    I would recommend those who think this is just media hype read John Barry's "The Great Influenza." In 1918, this same virus spread unchecked and killed hundreds of thousands across the world because we didn't have the ability to share information like we do now. There was a lot of ignorance, too, about it just being the flu. This book describes in great detail the transmission and mutation of the virus and the devastating effects of failure to take action. I don't think we can call current recognition that this is a level 5 crisis by the W.H.O. to be media hype in light of how this virus works.

    April 29, 2009 at 7:13 pm |