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Tamiflu May Help Shorten The Duration of H1N1 Flu

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

H1N1 swine flu vaccine will not be available until next month. In the meantime, swine flu, combined with an early start on seasonal flu, have many wondering how to check swine flu symptoms. If pandemic flu is treated early, antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu might help shorten the duration of either H1N1 or seasonal flu, and can be used preventively.

Only a small number of people have had serious complications or died from swine flu. H1N1 swine flu symptoms include high fever, and at least one of the two following symptoms: diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, headache, runny nose and cough, sore throat, and no appetite. A hallmark symptom of any flu includes muscle aches.

If you think you may have been exposed to swine flu, and especially if you are at high risk for flu complications from lung disease, autoimmune disorder, chronic illness such as heart, liver, or kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or diabetes, call your doctor for recommendations on how to stop from getting swine or seasonal flu. Children under age 5, pregnant women, and anyone over age 65 is also considered at risk for H1N1 and seasonal flu complications.

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Incubation period for swine flu is anywhere from two to five days. Your doctor will decide which antiviral medication or combination is right for you if you think you have been exposed to flu. Tamiflu and other antiviral drugs can be used to treat both seasonal and H1N1 flu, but some resistance to Tamiflu has been seen. Most people do not require antiviral medications such as Tamiflu for swine or seasonal flu unless there are underlying health problems.

Antiviral medications such as Tamiflu, Relenza and Flumadine are available with prescription. Swine flu is resistant to Flumadine (rimantadine). As a part of flu preparedness, and the swine flu pandemic, stockpiles of antiviral medications were made available for high risk groups.

Check your swine flu symptoms, based on the criteria issued by the CDC. If you believe you have been exposed to flu, and especially if you are at high risk for complications, speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Tamiflu and other antiviral medications should be started within 48 hours of onset of swine or seasonal flu symptoms for best outcomes.