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Diseases » Flu » Treatments
 

Treatments for Flu

Treatments for Flu:

Treatment of the flu starts with prevention. Preventive measures include covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you sneeze or cough and washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. You can also use antibacterial cleaners to clean hands and surfaces. It is also important to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, which can transmit the virus from your hands into your body.

Getting a yearly flu shot is also critical to avoiding the flu and its complications. Although influenza type C virus is a stable virus, Influenza type A virus and influenza type B virus are viruses that can change and produce new strains of viruses that can overcome the immunity a person might have developed to a particular strain of the flu in a previous flu season. This is why it is necessary to get a new flu shot every year to protect against the newly emerging strain of flu.

Getting a flu shot is especially important for people who are at risk for contracting the flu or serious complications, such as children, those over 50 years of age, and those with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

There is currently no cure for the flu. Once the disease is contracted, treatment includes measures to help relieve symptoms so that one is comfortable enough to get the rest needed to keep up strength and recover without developing complications. Treatment includes rest and over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed to ease body aches and fever. Good care also includes drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Chicken soup is a time-tested home remedy can help to break up congestion and provides easy-to-digest nutrients to help keep up strength.

Antibiotics are not prescribed for the flu because they are ineffective against the viruses that cause the flu. However, antibiotics may be prescribed if a person develops a secondary bacterial infection as a complication of the flu, such as bacterial pneumonia, acute bronchitis, or encephalitis.

There are also antiviral medications available that can limit the length of the flu. These include oseltamivir and zanamivir, which can have side effects and are not appropriate or necessary for all people with the flu. Antiviral drugs may be prescribed only to people who are at a high risk of developing life-threatening complications of the flu, such as pneumonia or acute bronchitis.

Treatment List for Flu

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Flu includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Rest
  • Fluids
  • Antibiotics - not for the flu itself, but either treating or preventing secondary bacterial infections and other complication of flu.
  • Symptomatic relief: various medications help in the headache and other symptoms of flu:
  • Antiviral medications
    • Tamiflu® (oseltamivir)
    • Relenza® (zanamivir)
    • Flumadine® (rimantadine)
    • Symmetrel® (amantadine)
  • Antiviral medications may reduce the severity and duration of symptoms in some cases. Rest and fluids aid recovery. Medications may be used to alleviate symptoms such as pain, fever and nasal congestion. Regular flu shots can prevent influenza infections

Alternative Treatments for Flu

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Flu may include:

Flu: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for Flu may include:

Flu: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Flu:

Flu: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Drugs and Medications used to treat Flu:

Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment or change in treatment plans.

Some of the different medications used in the treatment of Flu include:

  • Carbetapentane and Pseudoephedrine
  • Respi-Tann
  • Chorpheniramine and Acetaminophen
  • Coricidin HBP Cold and Flu
  • Oseltamivir
  • Tamiflu

Latest treatments for Flu:

The following are some of the latest treatments for Flu:

Hospital statistics for Flu:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Flu:

  • 1.03% (131,593) of hospital episodes were for influenza and pneumonia in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 67% of hospital consultations for influenza and pneumonia required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 51% of hospital episodes for influenza and pneumonia were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 49% of hospital episodes for influenza and pneumonia were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 93% of hospital admissions for influenza and pneumonia required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Flu

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Flu:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Flu, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for Flu:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Flu:

Discussion of treatments for Flu:

New Flu Drugs Neuraminidase Inhibitors, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new drugs to fight the flu: zanamivir (Relenza®) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), the first of a new class of antiviral drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors. (Source: excerpt from New Flu Drugs Neuraminidase Inhibitors, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

New Flu Drugs Neuraminidase Inhibitors, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

Zanamivir is approved only for treating uncomplicated influenza virus infection in people 7 years of age and older who have not had symptoms for more than two days.

Oseltamivir is approved for treating uncomplicated influenza virus infection in people 18 years of age or older who have not had symptoms for more than two days. A liquid suspension of oseltamivir is approved for treating acute illness in children who are 1 year of age and older who have been symptomatic for no more than two days. Oseltamivir also is approved for preventing influenza A and B in people 13 years and older.

Currently, oseltamivir is the only neuraminidase inhibitor approved to prevent the flu. (Source: excerpt from New Flu Drugs Neuraminidase Inhibitors, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

The Flu, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

Many people treat their flu infections by simply

  • Resting in bed
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Taking over-the-counter medicine such as aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol®, for example)
You should not give aspirin to children and adolescents who have the flu.

You should not take antibiotics to treat the flu because they do not work on viruses. Antibiotics only work against some infections caused by bacteria.

Medicine for Treatment

If you do get the flu and want to take medicine to treat it, your doctor may prescribe one of four available antiviral medicines:
  • Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) helps adults 18 years and older and Relenza® (zanamivir) helps adults and children 7 years and older who have an uncomplicated flu infection and who have had symptoms for no more than two days. FDA recently approved Tamiflu® for use in children 1 year of age and older who have had symptoms for no more than two days. Both treat influenza type A and type B infections.
  • Flumadine® (rimantadine) helps adults who have influenza type A virus infections. It has no effect on influenza type B virus infections.
  • Symmetrel® (amantadine) can be taken by adults and children who are 1 year of age and older to prevent and treat type A or type B influenza virus infections. Amantadine, however, is more likely to cause side effects such as lightheadedness and inability to sleep more often than is rimantadine.
To work well, you must take these medicines within 48 hours after the flu begins. They reduce the length or time fever and other symptoms last and allow you to return to your daily routine quicker. (Source: excerpt from The Flu, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Shots for Safety -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

The flu shot is the primary method of preventing and controlling the flu. However, four drugs have been approved to treat people who get the flu: amantadine (Symmetrel), rimantadine (Flumadine), zanamivir (Relenza), and oseltamivir (Tamiflu). When taken within 48 hours after the onset of illness, these drugs reduce the duration of fever and other symptoms. These drugs are available only by prescription. (Source: excerpt from Shots for Safety -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

What to Do About the Flu -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

If you get the flu, rest in bed, drink plenty of fluids, and take medication such as aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve fever and discomfort. (Source: excerpt from What to Do About the Flu -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

What to Do About the Flu -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

Antibiotics are not effective against flu viruses. However, four drugs have been approved to treat people who get the flu:

  • amantadine (Symmetrel)
  • rimantadine (Flumadine)
  • zanamivir (Relenza)
  • oseltamivir (Tamiflu)

    When taken within 48 hours after the onset of illness, these drugs reduce the duration of fever and other symptoms. These drugs are only available by prescription (Source: excerpt from What to Do About the Flu -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

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