What treatment is available for swine flu.?

The best treatment for influenza infections in humans is prevention by vaccination. Work by several laboratories has recently produced vaccines. The first vaccine released in early October 2009 was a nasal spray vaccine. It is approved for use in healthy individuals ages 2 through 49. This vaccine consists of a live attenuated H1N1 virus and should not be used in anyone who is pregnant or immunocompromised. The injectable vaccine, made from killed H1N1, became available in the second week of October.

This vaccine is approved for use in ages 6 months to the elderly, including pregnant females. Both of these vaccines have been approved by the CDC only after they had conducted clinical trials to prove that the vaccines were safe and effective. However, caregivers should be aware of the vaccine guidelines that come with the vaccines, as occasionally, the guidelines change. Please see the sections below titled “Can novel H1N1 swine flu be prevented with a vaccine?” and the timeline update for the current information on the vaccines.

Two antiviral agents have been reported to help prevent or reduce the effects of swine flu. They are zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu), both of which are also used to prevent or reduce influenza A and B symptoms. These drugs should not be used indiscriminately, because viral resistance to them can and has occurred. Also, they are not recommended if the flu symptoms already have been present for 48 hours or more, although hospitalized patients may still be treated past the 48-hour guideline.

Severe infections in some patients may require additional supportive measures such as ventilation support and treatment of other infections like pneumonia that can occur in patients with a severe flu infection. The CDC has suggested in their interim guidelines that pregnant females can be treated with the two antiviral agents.



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