- Influenza antiviral prescription drugs can be used to treat influenza or to prevent influenza.
- Oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir are chemically related antiviral medications known as neuraminidase inhibitors that have activity against both influenza A and B viruses.
The following are the CDC recommended antiviral medications for the treatment of influenza (flu) for the 2016-2017 season are as follows: oral oseltamivir (Tamiflu), inhaled zanamivir (Relenza), and intravenous peramivir (Rapivab). See Table 1 below for details about utilizing these drugs in adults and children.
Over-the-counter medications that may help reduce symptoms of congestion (decongestants), coughing (cough medicine), and dehydration include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin, Aleve), guaifenesin (Mucinex), dextromethorphan (Delsym), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and oral fluids. Aspirin may be used in adults but not in children.
Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viral illnesses like the flu.
Individuals with the flu may also benefit from some additional bed rest, throat lozenges, and possibly nasal irrigation; drinking fluids may help prevent symptoms of dehydration (for example, dry mucus membranes and decreased urination).
While a person has the flu, good nutrition can help the recovery process. Anyone with the flu needs to avoid dehydration, soothe sore throat and/or upset stomach, and have a good protein intake. Dehydration can be avoided by adequate fluid intake such as juices (orange, cranberry, grapefruit, tomato, grape, and others). Sore throat and upset stomach may be relieved by broths or warm soups (chicken, vegetable, or beef) and plain crackers, toast, and ginger tea or noncarbonated ginger ale. Scrambled eggs, yogurt, and/or protein drinks are good protein sources. In addition, bananas, rice, and applesauce are food that are often recommended for those with an upset stomach. This list is not exhaustive but should provide a balanced approach to help speed recovery from the flu.
When should a person go to the emergency department for the flu?
The CDC urges people to seek emergency medical care for a sick child with any of these flu effects (symptoms or signs):
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing (shortness of breath)
- Bluish or gray skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and cough
The following is the CDC's list of symptoms that should trigger emergency medical care for adults:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Having a high fever for more than three days is another danger sign, according to the WHO, so the CDC has also included this as another serious symptom.
Who should receive the flu vaccine, and who has the highest risk factors? When should someone get the flu shot?
In the United States, the flu season usually occurs from about November until April. Officials have decided each new flu season will start each year on Oct. 4. Typically, activity is very low until December, and peak activity most often occurs between January and March. Ideally, the conventional flu vaccine should be administered between September and mid-November. Flu season typically occurs between October and May. It takes about one to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies against influenza to develop and provide protection. The CDC has published a summary list of their current recommendations of who should get the current vaccine:
Summary of CDC influenza vaccination recommendations for 2017-2018
Routine annual influenza vaccination of all people aged ≥ 6 months without contraindications continues to be recommended. No preferential recommendation is made for one influenza vaccine product over another for people for whom more than one licensed, recommended product is otherwise appropriate. Updated information and guidance in this document includes the following:
- In light of low effectiveness against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 in the United States during the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons, for the 2017-18 season, ACIP makes the interim recommendation that LAIV4 (nasal spray) should not be used. Because LAIV4 is still a licensed vaccine that might be available and that some providers might elect to use, for informational purposes, reference is made to previous recommendations for its use.
- The 2017-2018 U.S. trivalent influenza vaccines will contain an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus, and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (Victoria lineage). Quadrivalent vaccines will include an additional vaccine virus strain, a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (Yamagata lineage).
- Recent new vaccine licensures are discussed:
- An MF59-adjuvanted trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (aIIV3), Fluad (Seqirus, Holly Springs, North Carolina), was licensed by FDA in November 2015 for people aged ≥ 65 years. Regulatory information is available at http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/ucm473989.htm. aIIV3 is an acceptable alternative to other vaccines licensed for people in this age group. ACIP and CDC do not express a preference for any particular vaccine product.
- A quadrivalent formulation of Flucelvax (cell culture-based inactivated influenza vaccine [ccIIV4], Seqirus, Holly Springs, North Carolina) was licensed by the FDA in May 2016 for people aged ≥ 4 years. Regulatory information is available at: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm502844.htm. ccIIV4 is an acceptable alternative to other vaccines licensed for people in this age group. No preference is expressed for any particular vaccine product.
For more information and details too extensive to include here, the following site is recommended: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/index.htm.
Depending on which part of the body is affected, the signs and symptoms of adenoviral infections vary:
Febrile respiratory disease, an infection with fever of the respiratory tract, is the most common result of adenoviral infection in kids. The illness often appears flu-like and can include symptoms of pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx, or sore throat), rhinitis (inflammation of nasal membranes, or a congested, runny nose), cough, and swollen lymph nodes (glands). Sometimes the respiratory infection leads to acute otitis media, an infection of the middle ear.
Adenovirus often affects the lower respiratory tract as well, causing bronchiolitis, croup, or viral pneumonia, which is less common but can cause serious illness in infants. Adenovirus can also produce a dry, harsh cough that can resemble whooping cough (pertussis).
Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and the small and large intestines. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, vomiting, headache, fever, and abdominal cramps.
Genitourinary infections: Urinary tract infections can cause frequent urination, burning, pain, and blood in the urine. Adenoviruses are also known to cause a condition called hemorrhagic cystitis, which is characterized by blood in the urine. Hemorrhagic cystitis usually resolves on its own.
- Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is a mild inflammation of the conjunctiva (membranes that cover the eye and inner surfaces of the eyelids). Symptoms include red eyes, discharge, tearing, and the feeling that there's something in the eye.
- Pharyngoconjunctival fever, often seen in small outbreaks among school-age kids, occurs when adenovirus affects both the lining of the eye and the respiratory tract. Symptoms include very red eyes and a severe sore throat, sometimes accompanied by low-grade fever, rhinitis, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Keratoconjunctivitis is a more severe infection that involves both the conjunctiva and cornea (the transparent front part of the eye) in both eyes. This type of adenoviral infection is extremely contagious and occurs most often in older kids and young adults, causing red eyes, photophobia (discomfort of the eyes upon exposure to light), blurry vision, tearing, and pain.
Nervous system infections:
- Meningitis and encephalitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) can sometimes happen due to adenovirus infection. Symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, or skin rash.
Adenovirus is highly contagious, so multiple cases are common in close-contact settings like childcare centers, schools, hospitals, and summer camps.
The types of adenovirus that cause respiratory and intestinal infections spread from person to person through respiratory secretions (coughs or sneezes) or fecal contamination. Fecal material can spread via contaminated water, eating food contaminated by houseflies, and poor hand washing (such as after using the bathroom, before eating or preparing food, or after handling dirty diapers).
A child might also pick up the virus by holding hands or sharing a toy with an infected person. Adenovirus can survive on surfaces for long periods, so indirect transmission can occur through exposure to the contaminated surfaces of furniture and other objects.
The types of adenovirus causing pinkeye may be transmitted by water (in lakes and swimming pools), by sharing contaminated objects (such as towels or toys), or by touch.
Once a child is exposed to adenovirus, symptoms usually develop from 2 days to 2 weeks later.
Adenoviral illnesses often resemble certain bacterial infections, which can be treated with antibiotics. But antibiotics don't work against viruses. To diagnose the true cause of the symptoms so that proper treatment can be prescribed, your doctor may want to test respiratory or conjunctival secretions, a stool specimen, or a blood or urine sample.
The doctor will decide on a course of action based on your child's condition. Adenoviral infections usually don't require hospitalization. However, babies and young children may not be able to drink enough fluids to replace what they lose during vomiting or diarrhea and so might need to be hospitalized to treat or prevent dehydration. Also, young (especially premature) infants with pneumonia usually need to be hospitalized.
5) @Steamland-- The question itself is a very judgmental and prejudiced. What makes you think that all pandemic diseases come from Asia? They emerge in other areas of the world all the time. Take Ebola, which emerged in Africa.
The only difference is that in countries where health care systems are very developed, these instances are diagnosed and quarantined much faster. So the chances of the pandemic spreading is reduced and it's usually eliminated altogether this way.
4) @donasmrs-- They are not the same but they mutated from the same virus. They are subtypes of what is called influenza A. Asian flu is H2N2 as the article said and Avian flu is H5N1. They start out in wild birds and sometimes, they infect humans and become an epidemic. There are other types of influenza A that affect other animals like pigs (aka swine flu). But most flu viruses in this category exist in birds, fewer amount affect pigs and humans.
Yes, these viruses change and adapt all the time. That's they're survival mechanism. They're constantly mutating, evolving, taking on new names and jumping from one animal to the next.
3) What about the bird flu that showed up in various parts of the world in 2006 and 2007? Was it the same as Asian flue or was it a slightly different strain of the virus? Does the virus keep changing?
2) @Steamland, as far as we know there are two reasons for this. One is just probability. Asia contains a huge portion of the world's population and is a massive part of the geographic world. People sometimes refer to Asia like it's a single country but about a third of the world is classified as Asia. Add in more than half the world's population and it makes sense than many of the worlds diseases would originate there. Also to blame is the developing nature of many regions within Asia. Not only do billions of people live relatively close together, some live close together in poor hygienic conditions with little access to proper sanitation and clean water. Compound this with the fact that a portion of these people live in close contact with farm animals. Farm animals, like ducks, chickens and pigs are usually the original hosts from which many new diseases mutate and make the jump to humans. Not only that but often these farm animals live in close proximity with each other which can promote mutation conditions in certain viruses and bacteria.
1) Why do all of these horrible pandemic diseases seem to come from Asia? Why don't they originate in places like America?
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Flu epidemic. The CDC released new numbers Monday showing the flu is widespread in most of the country, including here in Maryland—and doctors say this strain can be more dangerous.
Meghan McCorkell has more on how local hospitals are handling a surge of cases.
Hospitals in Maryland say they have been slammed with flu patients since Christmas.
The flu turned deadly in the United States with 21 children dying this season. One of the latest was seven-year-old Ruby Hanson, whose parents say she may have survived if it weren’t for a pre-existing condition.
“She had a seizure that was caused by the flu,” said Debra Hanson, her mother.
The CDC now reports 43 states, including Maryland, are experiencing high or widespread flu activity. Much of that is the H3N2 strain of Influenza A.
“We do know that in years where this virus circulates, or this type of virus circulates, we do get more deaths on average than the usual year,” said Dr. Joseph Cresee, Centers for Disease Control.
Emergency rooms across the state are now reporting thousands of patients coming in with flu-like symptoms every week.
“This is one of the busier flu years,” said Dr. Lisa Kirkland, Sinai Hospital.
Dr. Kirkland says some of the patients she is seeing thought they were protected because they got a flu shot.
“This year, the flu strain mutated a little bit and there is one component of the flu strain that is causing the flu in people who actually did get the shot,” she said.
Several local hospitals are now limiting visitors to try and stop the spread of the flu. At the University of Maryland Medical Center, no visitors under the age of 18 will be allowed in the hospital, only two adult visitors can see a patient at one time and visitors experiencing flu symptoms are not permitted.
Flu season normally lasts through February and March.
Serious Condition: H1N1 Inflenza came unexpectedly and the usual vaccine was not effective and it caused people to get sick with this virus and some succumb to it by getting hospitalized and some died. Later on H1N1 Vaccine was incorporated and given to prevent an epidemic. Read more
Time to see a doctor: 10 days is too long for a common cold. You might have a more serious condition such as pneumonia.. Read more
Needs confirmation: There are a number of other infections beside influenza producing flu-like symptoms. Tamiflu, (oseltamivir) most often prescribed antiviral medine, should also be given within 48 hours from the onset of illness to be beneficial.. Read more
Dehydration: Drink 2 glasses of warm water initially, then 1 glass every 30 min for next two hours, then 1 glass every hour for rest of day. You should be urinating every hour and urine should be clear. Do this for one day and you will feel better much faster.. Read more
MAYBE: Every year a number of flu strains circle the globe and various sites keep track and report their activity. Vaccine makers pick 3-4 strains in early spring to put in the fall shot, based on those with the most activity. Too many strains would weaken the individual strength against each strain. With luck, the vaccine will boost general flu immunity enough to make it mild for those who get it anyway. Read more
Influenza: Without a fever you don't have influenza. You probably have a cold. If you haven't had a flu shot get one. Even though the antigens in the shot don't exactly match the flu strain this year, it should offer some protection and make the flu less severe if you get it. Influenza is sudden (like you were hit by a truck), fevers, chills, runny nose, cough, diffuse aches and rarely GI symptoms.. Read more
Unlikely: Most cold symptoms now can be attributed to the flu although symptoms may vary from one to another. There is nothing 100% in medicine however but it is unlikely that the test result was wrong during this epidemic. In fact, testing is not recommended.. Read more
It could be either.: Bronchitiis has been associated with tamiflu (oseltamivir). Would stop tamiflu (oseltamivir) and call your Dr.. Read more
See below: No all H inluenzae bacteria cause disease. There are six major types and type B causes most infections in humans. There are also other types of bacteria which do not fall into the six known categories and are called untypable. You may consult this site for more info: https://www. Cdc. Gov/hi-disease/index. Html
Wish you good health! - Have a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and milk products, nuts, beans, legumes, lentils and small amounts of lean meats. Avoid saturated fats. Drink enough water daily, so that your urine is mostly colorless. Exercise at least 150 minutes/week and increase the intensity of exercise gradually. Do not use tobacco, alcohol, weed or street drugs in any form.
Practice safe sex, if you have sex.. Read more
Possible: Common flu symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, joint pain etc. When the symptoms initially develop it may be possible to feel pain in a single joint. If the pain is due to flu the pain my progress to other joints.. Read more
Learn about the causes of flu and how it is spread.
The flu is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs. It is caused mainly by 2 types of viruses:
The flu spreads very easily from person to person. Even before you notice symptoms, you may spread the virus to others. If you have the virus, you can spread it to others by:
These actions release tiny droplets containing the flu virus into the air.
You can become infected if these droplets land on your:
The following people are most at risk of complications:
- Children younger than 5 years old
- People with chronic diseases
- Pregnant women
- Women who gave birth in the last 4 weeks
- People aged 65 years and over
If you or your child are among people most at risk of complications and have symptoms of the flu, call Info-Santé 811. A nurse will evaluate your health and make recommendations based on your condition.
The flu virus lives best in fresh and dry areas. It can live up to 2 days on contaminated objects or up to 5 minutes on skin.
The flu virus is very contagious. It is spread quickly from person to person in the following ways:
- By droplets sprayed through the mouth or nose by an infected person when they cough or sneeze
- By direct contact with secretions from the nose or throat from a person with the flu, when kissing for instance
- When you bring your hand to your nose, mouth or eyes after shaking the hand of someone infected or touching contaminated objects
A person infected with flu virus may be contagious:
- 24 hours before showing symptoms
- Up to 7 days after onset of symptoms, and sometimes even a bit longer.
Young children and seniors can be contagious for up to 14 days following onset of symptoms.
If you have the flu, avoid direct contact as much as possible with people most at risk of complications. This way, you reduce the risk of transmitting the illness to them.