Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
Do not use products sold on the Internet claiming to treat the pandemic H1N1 flu. Talk to your doctor before using such products.
Most people with the flu do not need antiviral medicine. If you have the flu, check with your doctor to see if you need antiviral medicine. You will need it if you are in a high-risk group or if you have a severe illness (like breathing problems).
Antiviral medicines do not cure the flu. They may help relieve symptoms and shorten the time you are sick. They must be taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms.
Antiviral medicines used to treat the pandemic H1N1 flu include:
- Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)-Some kinds of seasonal influenza virus are resistant to this drug in the United States, but it can be used for pandemic H1N1 flu.
- Zanamivir (Relenza)-This may worsen Asthma-Adult or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- Peramivir-This is an investigational medicine that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed doctors to use for hospitalized patients if other antiviral medicines do not work. This medicine is given through an IV (a needle in the vein).
Oseltamivir (and perhaps zanamivir) may increase the risk of self-injury and confusion shortly after taking, especially in children. Children should be closely monitored for signs of unusual behavior.
Other antiviral medications sometimes used to treat some kinds of seasonal flu (amantadine or rimantadine) do not work against the pandemic H1N1 flu.
There are other measures you can take, such as:
- Getting plenty of rest to help your body fight the flu
- Drinking a lot of liquids, including water, juice, and non-caffeinated tea
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or (in adults) aspirin
NOTE: Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's Syndrome. Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.
- Taking other OTC products (eg, decongestants, saline nasal sprays, cough medicines)
- Talk to your doctor about what is safe for you or your child to take. For example, cough and cold products can cause serious side effects in young children.
- Using alternative therapies like elderberry extract
- Researchers found that products (like Sambucol and ViraBLOC) containing an herb called elderberry decreased flu symptoms in some studies. But be aware that herbal remedies are not regulated by the government. So the herbal supplements that you buy may not have the same ingredients as those studied and they may contain impurities (things that should not be in the product).