H1N1: Understanding treatment options

While Americans await the vaccine against the H1N1 virus, it is important to know and understand the treatment options for those who have been diagnosed and are sick.Two antiviral drugs, oseltamivir and zanamivir are effective against the H1N1 strain of the virus and can be used for the treatment of those who have been diagnosed with this infection. It ‘important that the use of these drugs is to start as soon as possible if they want to be effective. When used to treat the infection, these drugs are usually administered twice daily for five days. They immediately relieve symptoms, but may reduce the duration of symptoms by about a day on average. There have been some recent publicity that the intravenous administration of single doses of another antiviral agent has been very effective in treating H1N1. However, this drug is still under evaluation and is not commercially available. Tamiflu is available in capsules and oral liquid formulation. It ‘was designed and approved for use in adults and children at least one year of age.

The second data set was a 2008 study in which over 7,000 people from eight European countries kept track of all the contacts they had with other people for a day, recording the ‘age and sex of the person who has interacted with, in which the interaction takes place and the duration and type of contact . One of the main results of this study is that children interact more frequently with other children than with adults.

People who have symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, cough, or may be associated with the flu should consult a physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional.

It ‘possible that these symptoms are not due to influenza infection, but they have developed because of an allergy or cold, and can be effectively treated with an over the counter.