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H1N1 Flu Virus (Swine Flu)

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How Is Swine Flu Treated?

Some of the same antiviral drugs that are used to treat seasonal flu also work against H1N1 swine flu. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) seem to work best, although some kinds of swine flu are resistant to Tamiflu.

These drugs can help you get over swine flu faster. They can also help keep it from being too severe. They work best when taken within 48 hours of the first flu symptoms, but they can help when taken later.

Antibiotics won't help, because flu is caused by a virus, not bacteria.

Over-the-counter pain remedies and cold and flu medications can help relieve aches, pains, and fever. Don't give aspirin to children under age 18 because of the risk for Reye’s syndrome. Check to make sure that over-the-counter cold medications do not have aspirin before giving them to children.

Vaccine for Swine Flu

 The same flu vaccine that protects against seasonal flu also protects against the H1N1 swine flu strain. You can get it as a shot or as a nasal spray. Either way, it "teaches" your immune system to attack the real virus.

Besides a flu shot, there are other things you can do to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and water. Sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice to make sure you've washed long enough. Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on January 09, 2014
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