Articles, Blog

H1N1 Flu and Antiviral Drugs

November 8, 2019

Hello. I’m Dr. Tony Fiore
with CDC’s Influenza Division. I’m here to speak with you today
about antiviral drugs that can be used to treat
or prevent human infections with the new type
of H1N1 flu virus, which has also been called
swine flu. Since March 2009, this new virus
has caused human illness in the United States
and other countries. If you get sick with this flu, it’s important that you know
about antiviral drugs that can make
your illness milder, make you feel better faster, and potentially prevent
serious influenza complications. Antiviral drugs
are prescription medicines, such as pills, liquid,
or an inhaler, that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses
from reproducing in your body. They can also be used
to prevent flu when they’re given to a person
who is not ill. Use of antiviral drugs
should be reserved, however, for certain situations, such as when a person at higher
risk for influenza complications is exposed to the virus. This includes persons 65
or older, infants and young children, and persons with chronic
medical conditions. When used for prevention, the number of days antiviral
drugs should be used will vary depending on a person’s
particular situation. If you get sick, antiviral drugs
can make your illness milder and help you feel better faster. They may also prevent
serious flu complications. For treatment,
antiviral drugs work best if started within two days
of symptoms. But treatment
should still be considered after two days of symptom onset, particularly for
hospitalized patients or people at higher risk
for flu-related complications. These medications
must be prescribed by a healthcare professional. Flu antiviral drugs only work
against flu viruses. They won’t help treat
or prevent symptoms caused by infection
from other viruses that can cause symptoms
similar to the flu. The new H1N1 flu viruses that have infected people
in the United States and Mexico are sensitive to Oseltamivir
and Zanamavir. CDC recommends that clinicians
consider using these drugs to prevent or treat infection
with the new H1N1 flu viruses, focusing on patients at higher
risk for influenza complications or those who are hospitalized. One or both of these drugs
should be available at pharmacies or hospitals
in your area, and both drugs are in the recently released
federal stockpile. In addition to
antiviral medications, it’s important to remember
that there are basic things that people can do every day to help prevent
the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses
like flu viruses. First, wash your hands often
with soap and water, especially after you cough
or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners
are also effective. Also remember to cover your nose
and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue
in the trash afterwards. Try to avoid close contact
with sick people. If you get sick with flu, CDC recommends that you stay
home from work or school and limit contact with others
to keep from infecting them. Avoid touching your eyes,
nose, or mouth, because germs can spread
that way. For more information,
visit Or call 1-800-CDC-INFO. That’s 1-800-232-4636.


  • Reply humanityfirstnow March 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Hi sorry I didnt read your "comment policy" so I will just use my own free speech. A recent report in the UK has concluded that Tamiflu is of practically no use at all against viruses. Still I suppose noone will buy it now anyway seeing as that swine flu doesnt seem to be an issue any more and the money has been made.

  • Reply Andrea Patane January 2, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Hi Dr. Fiore,
    I'm [email protected] I was vaccinated for the flu virus last year in September @ Walgreens in Pacifica,California. I DID have swine flu 4 years ago in February. It wasn't pretty! Why do people get sick every year?

  • Reply Eli Graham September 3, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Is this finally done or is it still re-occuring? Any vaccines to prevent this?

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