I Think I Have the Flu: Should I Consider Antiviral Treatment?

I Think I Have the Flu: Should I Consider Antiviral Treatment?

Feeling under the weather? Symptoms like fever, body aches, and fatigue may leave you wondering if you have the flu. Since we’re still in the midst of flu season, it’s important to get tested to confirm if you’re dealing with the flu, a cold, or even COVID-19.

Once you know for sure that you have the flu, you might consider taking antiviral medications that can help mitigate the severity and duration of the flu. 

Read on as Dr. Rogers Walker and his team share the common symptoms of the flu, discuss the importance of early intervention, and explore the benefits of antiviral treatment during your sick visit at Walker Family Care in Little River, South Carolina.

Recognizing the signs of the flu

Flu symptoms tend to develop suddenly. Typical flu symptoms include:

Because many of these symptoms do overlap with other illnesses, it’s important to get a flu test to confirm (or rule out) the flu. Here at Walker Family Care, our team may recommend other tests, including a strep test or a COVID test based on your symptoms.

Why early intervention matters for the flu

Early intervention is particularly important because it can help reduce the risk of severe complications, particularly in high-risk populations such as young children, the elderly, and individuals with underlying health conditions.

Antiviral medications are most effective when administered within the first 48 hours of symptom onset, which is why it’s so important to quickly identify the signs of the flu and get tested quickly. 

The bottom line: Antiviral treatment is most effective when administered early in the course of the illness. If you suspect you have the flu, seek medical attention promptly.

Getting started with antiviral treatment options

Oseltamivir is a commonly prescribed antiviral medication that can help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms for influenza A and influenza B. Other antivirals, such as zanamivir (Relenza) and peramivir (Rapivab), may be prescribed depending on your individual health needs and the strain of the flu virus.

Should you consider antiviral treatment?

You might consider antiviral treatment if:

You’re in the high-risk population for flu complications

Certain people have a higher risk for developing flu-related complications. This includes babies, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, those with chronic health conditions like diabetes or asthma, those who are obese, and anyone with a weakened immune system.

You’re pregnant

When you’re pregnant, you may not be able to take the same medication that you could before you were pregnant. Thankfully, antivirals don’t fall into that category. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends antiviral medication for pregnant women in any trimester who have the flu.

You’re taking care of a child with the flu 

Both children and the elderly are in the high-risk groups for complications, but antiviral medication is approved for us in both of these age groups. Tamiflu®, for example, is approved for children as young as 14 days old.

You want to reduce your symptom duration

Antiviral medications can significantly reduce the duration of flu symptoms, which helps you recover more quickly and minimizes the risk of complications.

When not to consider antiviral flu treatment

If your flu test reveals that you don’t have the flu, our team can recommend the other medications (if necessary) or at-home treatments that are right for you. Regardless of your diagnosis, rest, increased fluid intake, and nutrient-dense meals can help your body heal.

 

Additionally, you might not consider taking antiviral flu medication if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients in them.

Spot the signs of the flu? Here’s what you should do

If you suspect you have the flu, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention here at Walker Family Care, especially if you are in a high-risk group. Dr. Walker can assess your symptoms, confirm your diagnosis, and prescribe antiviral medication if deemed appropriate. 

Give us a call at 843-280-8333. You can also schedule your next appointment by clicking here, or simply visit us as a walk-in patient.

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