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Treating the Flu In People With Health Risks (cont.)

How long should antiviral drugs be taken?

To treat flu, Tamiflu® and Relenza® are usually taken for 5 days, although people hospitalized with the flu may need the medicine for longer than 5 days.

Can children and pregnant women take antiviral drugs?

Yes. Children and pregnant women can take antiviral drugs.

Who should take antiviral drugs?

It's very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat the flu in:

  • People who are very sick with the flu (for example, people who are in the hospital).
  • People who are sick with the flu and have a high-risk health condition like asthma, diabetes or chronic heart disease. (See below for full list of high risk conditions).

What are the health and age factors that are known to increase a person's risk of getting serious complications from the flu?

  • Asthma
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis) Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
  • Morbid obesity
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • People younger than 19 years of age on longterm aspirin therapy
  • People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • People with weakened immune systems due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)

Other people at high risk from the flu:

  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks from end of pregnancy
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives

SOURCE: Treating Influlenza (Flu)

Last Editorial Review: 1/15/2013 8:24:33 PM


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