Fda Approved Drugs For Influenza
There are four FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC for use against recently circulating influenza viruses.
Two older drugs, amantadine and rimantadine historically have been approved for treatment and prevention of influenza A virus infection. But many strains of influenza virus, including the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, are now resistant to these drugs. CDC has not recommended the use of amantadine and rimantadine for recently circulating influenza viruses, although recommendations could change if there were future re-emergence of specific virus strains with susceptibility patterns favoring such use.
How Long Youll Take Them
Whenever youre prescribed antibiotics, you need to take the full course of drugs, anywhere from seven to 14 days. You need to continue taking them even if you start feeling better before the course is done.
If you stop taking the antibiotic before finishing every dose, the bacteria may come back stronger and resistant to the drugmeaning that type of antibiotic may no longer help your body fight off that infection.
Other Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
There are a few other reasons you might be prescribed antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection. Strep throat, medically known as streptococcal pharyngitis, is a sore throat caused by infection by streptococcal bacteria. It is usually treated with penicillin.
Swelling of the epiglottis, the flap of tissue covering the windpipe, is potentially life-threatening, particularly in children ages 2 to 5 years. Called epiglottitis, this condition can impact breathing and is often caused by infection with the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type b and should be treated with antibiotics, including a cephalosporin.
If the cold leads to an ear infection, antibiotics may help resolve it if pain relievers and decongestants dont do the trick. Antibiotic use guidelines for children with ear infections differ based on their age and symptoms.
Can Antibiotics Be Used To Treat Influenza
No, antibiotics play no role in treating influenza which is caused by a virus. Antibiotics are only effective against diseases caused by bacteria. Antibiotics can also be dangerous to use if not prescribed properly. Furthermore, using antibiotics when they are not necessary leads to antibiotic resistance.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Antiviral Drugs
Side effects vary for each medication. The most common side effects for oseltamivir are nausea and vomiting. Zanamivir can cause bronchospasm, and peramivir can cause diarrhea. Other less common side effects also have been reported. Your health care provider can give you more information about these drugs or you can check the Food and Drug Administration websiteexternal icon for specific information about antiviral drugs, including the manufacturers package insert.
Parents, if your child gets sick with flu, antiviral drugs offer a safe and effective treatment option. For treatment, influenza antiviral drugs should ideally be started within 2 days after becoming sick and taken according to your doctors instructions .
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Can Antibiotics Be Used To Treat A Cold
No, antibiotics play no role in treating the common cold which is caused by a group of viruses. Antibiotics are only effective against diseases caused by bacteria. Antibiotics can also be dangerous to use if not prescribed properly. Furthermore, using antibiotics when they are not necessary leads to antibiotic resistance.
Can Pregnant People Take Antiviral Drugs
Yes. Oral oseltamivir is recommended for treatment of pregnant people with flu because compared to other recommended antiviral medications, it has the most studies available to suggest that it is safe and beneficial during pregnancy. Baloxavir is not recommended for pregnant people or while breastfeeding, as there are no available efficacy or safety data.
Why Antibiotics Don’t Work For All Illnesses
Bacteria are microscopic organisms found throughout nature. They can live inside or outside the human body somesuch as the bacteria in your digestive system are beneficial and necessary for good health. Others, however, are pathogenic, meaning they cause infection and illness.
Certain bacteria are responsible for a variety of human respiratory infections, including some sinus and ear infections, certain kinds of pneumonia, and strep throat. These can be targeted and effectively neutralized by antibiotic drugs.
The common cold, influenza, and other viruses, on the other hand, are not caused by bacteria. When you get a viral infection, the virus invade your body’s cells, using their machinery to help make more and more viruses.
Antibiotics do not kill viruses, so they won’t shorten a viral illness. Instead, there are some antiviral medications that can be used against specific viruses, such as influenza or HIV.
Will An Antibiotic Cure Me Of The Flu
No, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and do not work on viral infections like the flu. This is another common myth about the flu and possible flu medicine used to treat it.
You might hear people say that they took an antibiotic and it cured them of the flu. Since the flu usually lasts about 5 to 7 days, it might seem that an antibiotic may have helped cure the flu. However, it is likely that the flu just resolved on its own.
Research studies of antiviral flu medicine shows that it can lessen symptoms of the flu and shorten the amount of time youre sick. If you think you may need a flu medicine to help with the flu, you should talk about it with your healthcare provider.
OTC flu medicines, as mentioned above, can help with symptoms but usually do not shorten the flus course.
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Do I Need To Finish My Antibiotic
The bottom line: take your antibiotic for as long as your doctor tells you.
Historically you may have been told to always finish all of your prescribed antibiotic, even if you feel 100% better. The thinking was that antibiotic resistance could occur if you stop short of your full course of therapy.
But some experts are now advising that long courses are not always needed and could actually be fueling the antibiotic resistance trend. The American College of Physicians published a guideline in 2021 entitled “ACP Best Practice Advice: Shorter course of antibiotics may be appropriate for some common infections”.
- Healthcare providers and patients should be aware that using antibiotics for shorter periods may have the same or better results compared with longer periods and can also help lower antibiotic resistance.
- The treatment advice from ACP centers on uncomplicated and common infections like bronchitis / COPD, pneumonia, urinary tract infection , and skin infections in otherwise healthy patients.
- Length of treatment often depends on the antibiotic being used or the bacteria being treated, too. For example, for uncomplicated UTI in women, fosfomycin is a medicine that can be given in one single dose, but trimethoprimsulfamethoxazole is given as a 3-day course.
Why Are They Not Helpful
If you have a sore throat, cough, or sinus pain, you might expect to take antibiotics. After all, you feel bad, and you want to get better fast. But antibiotics dont help most respiratory infections, and they can even be harmful.
Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.Antibiotics fight infections caused by bacteria. But most respiratory infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics cant cure a virus.
- Most sore throats, especially with a cough, runny nose, hoarse voice, or mouth sores
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How Are Viruses Different From Bacteria
Viruses are structurally different from bacteria. Viruses live and replicate inside of a human cell and they cannot live outside of this environment. Viruses insert their genetic material into a human cells DNA in order to reproduce.
Antibiotics cannot kill viruses because bacteria and viruses have different mechanisms and machinery to survive and replicate. The antibiotic has no target to attack in a virus.
However, antiviral medications and vaccines are specific for viruses. Vaccines stimulate your own immune system to produce antibodies, which then can recognize the virus to inactivate it before it can cause disease. The best way to help prevent the flu, COVID, shingles and chickenpox is with a vaccine.
When And Why You Might Need An Antibiotic For A Cold
Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist with a background in internal medicine.
Steve Prezant / Getty
Any given adult will get a cold at least a couple of times a yearusually in the fall and winter. Kids can get many colds, maybe even half a dozen or more a year. When you get a cold, also known as an upper respiratory tract infection, should you visit your healthcare provider and get antibiotics?
The truth is, antibiotics for respiratory infections arent going to make you feel better sooner, and they might even leave you with side effects that make you feel worse.
Colds are known medically as upper respiratory tract infections because theyre usually limited to the upper half of your respiratory systemthe nose, sinuses, upper throat, larynx, and pharynx. These infections dont, for example, include infections that affect your lungs, like pneumonia.
Upper respiratory tract infections are usually caused by viruses, like rhinovirus, coronavirus, or influenza, though rarely they are caused by bacteria. Bacteria that infect the upper respiratory tract are most often S. pyogenes , or sometimes H influenzae.
Due to the development and routine administration of the H. influenzae vaccine over the past 30 years, the incidence of this infection has dropped substantially.
Antibiotics may be prescribed in a few different situations:
Should I Avoid Antibiotics Altogether
Not at all. Antibiotics can save people’s lives, and if you need them, you should get them as quickly as you can. Since only a doctor can prescribe antibiotics, this means that you should talk to your doctor if you think you might need them .
However, it is the grave over-reliance and inappropriate use of antibiotics that have contributed to the global antibiotic resistance crisis that we face.
A study by the CDC showed that many adults believe that if they are sick enough to see a doctor for a cold, they should get an antibiotic treatment. The study also showed that patients are not aware of the consequences of taking the drugs if they are not needed. And when antibiotics are misused, bacteria can become resistant.
Antiviral Medication Can Sometimes Treat The Flu But Not A Flu
There are antiviral medications that can lessen the severity and duration of symptoms caused by the influenza virus. However theyre usually only beneficial if taken within the first 48 hours of experiencing symptoms. There are no such medications for the viruses that cause flu-like illnesses. If you have a virus that is not influenza or if you have the influenza virus but have already been sick for several days then treatment is aimed at easing symptoms.
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So What Can I Do About My Cold Or Flu
You mightve heard your doctor use the phrase that a virus has to run its course. This means waiting for your bodys immune system to fight off the viral infection by itself by activating an immune response.
While a virus runs its course there are ways you can speed it up or make it less severe. Getting plenty of bed rest, drinking lots of fluids and taking over-the-counter medication to relieve symptoms will help. This is generally enough for otherwise healthy people. However, in some cases, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to help reduce the severity and length of your illness. This is most effective at the onset of a virus.
If you have a cold or the flu, you should visit your doctor or call 13 HEALTH if you have more serious symptoms, such as trouble breathing, chest pain, a sore throat that hurts to swallow, a cough, headaches, sinus pain, persistent vomiting , fever , feelings of confusion or coloured phlegm.
There are also steps you should take to protect others. If you have a cold, flu or virus, stay at home and avoid contact with others. This means no work, no school and no day care. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or you could use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Make sure you cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or a flexed elbow. Stay 1.5 meters away from others, so you dont spread germs.
When Children Need Themand When They Dont
If your child has a sore throat, cough, or runny nose, you might expect the doctor to prescribe antibiotics. But most of the time, children dont need antibiotics to treat a respiratory illness. In fact, antibiotics can do more harm than good. Heres why:
Antibiotics fight bacteria, not viruses.
If your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics may help. But if your child has a virus, antibiotics will not help your child feel better or keep others from getting sick.
- The common cold and flu are both viruses.
- Chest colds are also usually caused by viruses.
- Bronchiolitis is particular type of chest cold that often causes wheezing and can make young infants very sick. It is also caused by a virus.
- Most sinus infections are caused by viruses. The symptoms are a lot of mucus in the nose and post-nasal drip.
- Mucus that is colored does not necessarily mean your child has a bacterial infection.
Antibiotics do not help treat viruses and some infections.
The flu is always caused by a virus. For these cases, antibiotics may be needed. There are special medications that can be used in some cases to fight the flu virus. Sometimes infants and children get bacterial infections on top of the flu. When a child has BOTH the flu and a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be needed.
Sometimes bacteria can cause sinus infections, but even then the infection usually clears up on its own in a week or so. Many common ear infections also clear up on their own without antibiotics.
What To Do If You Think You May Have The Flu
This year especially, its important to get a flu vaccine. Since the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, you want to keep your immune system as healthy as possible. If you think you might have the flu:
Stay away from others as much as possible.
Visit a healthcare provider for testing.
Take any antivirals youre prescribed as instructed.
If you are diagnosed with the flu, your healthcare provider may or may not prescribe antivirals. Here are a few other ways you can manage your flu symptoms:
Get lots of rest: Many people who get the flu feel extremely tired. Get as much rest as possible to help your body recover.
Drink lots of fluids: Keeping your body hydrated can help your immune system stay strong and fight off the flu more effectively.
Consider over-the-counter medications to manage your symptoms: If your symptoms are bothersome, you might consider over-the-counter medications to help. If you have chronic conditions, always check with your healthcare provider before taking any OTC meds.
Is An Antiviral Drug A Commonly Used Flu Treatment
Antiviral flu drugs are taken to decrease the severity and duration of flu symptoms. In some cases they may be used to prevent flu. They includeÃ baloxavir marboxil ,Ã oseltamivir , peramivir , or zanamivir .
Ideally, the first dose should be taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Talk to your doctor, if you are at increased risk for complications from the flu. People at high risk include infants, elderly, those with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, those with weak immune systems. Native American and Alaskan Natives. Most antivirals do have side effects.
Prevention Is The Best Medicine
Keeping yourself healthy during flu season starts with prevention.
The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated, said Dr. Policht. The flu shot may not be 100 percent effective, but even if you do get sick after getting the vaccine, its likely that your illness wont be as severe.
Getting your flu shot is easier than ever for Geisinger patients. Get a walk-in flu shot during business hours at:
Geisinger Health Plan may refer collectively to Geisinger Health Plan, Geisinger Quality Options Inc., and Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, unless otherwise noted. Geisinger Gold Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and HMO D-SNP plans are offered by Geisinger Health Plan/Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, health plans with a Medicare contract. Continued enrollment in Geisinger Gold depends on annual contract renewal. Geisinger Health Plan Kids and Geisinger Health Plan Family are offered by Geisinger Health Plan in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services . Geisinger Health Plan is part of Geisinger, an integrated health care delivery and coverage organization.
What Treatment Is Available For The Flu
Most people who get the flu will only have mild illness and may not need to see a doctor as they can treat their symptoms at home.
Home treatment for upper respiratory infections mainly includes getting plenty of rest and keeping hydrated .
There are many common over-the-counter medications, such as throat lozenges, throat sprays and cough syrups, which can help relieve symptoms although, these medications cannot help you get better faster. Gargling with warm saltwater may help relieve a sore throat in some people. , or nasal sprays, and antihistamines may be used for nasal symptoms, as can humidifiers.Over-the-counter medications must be taken with care and as directed, as they can have other effects than those desired. Pregnant women should discuss the safety of using over-the-counter medications with their pharmacist or healthcare provider before use.
Paracetamol-based and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, are common over-the-counter medicines that can help alleviate and manage fever, sore throat, headache and body pain. Consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist about using these medications.
Importantly, do not use aspirin or aspirin-containing medications in children or teenagers before consulting your doctor because it may cause serious, unwanted side-effects.Finally, most over-the-counter cough and cold and flu medications for infants and young children are not recommended for use in children younger than four years of age.
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