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How do you know if you have H1N1?

October 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
How do you know if you have the swine flu? And how soon do you need to see a doctor? The window of treatment can be pretty short so it's important to know how late is too late to stop the H1N1 virus.After Gene Wong's daughter had been sick for three days she brought her to the pediatrician.

"She's has a cough for three of four days turn into anything more serious," said Gene.

Glendale Memorial's Dr. Harry Huang says patient visits are way up due to concerns over the H1N1 virus. Many parents with kids with flu like symptoms ask him about antiviral drugs like Tamiflu.

"The treatment has to be within the first 48 hours," said Dr. Harry Huang. "If you miss that window it's not really recommended you do Tamiflu."

And if you have the flu, Dr. Huang says you'll know when the 48 hour window begins.

"It's not going to be like you will have a little runny nose or a cough, the flu will hit you hard," said Dr. Huang.

The drug stops the flu virus from reproducing. And generally patients feel better a day or two earlier. Local pharmacies say they're out of the pediatric version of Tamiflu recommended for kids six months and older.

The other antiviral, Relenza, is for patients seven years and older. Dr. Huang says most flu patients can recover quite well without it and most patients do not have to go the ER.

"If your child is under two years of age and the kid has a high fever and looks really sick, call you doctor," said Dr. Huang. "It's our job to figure out where you need to go and what you need to do."

"We use Tylenol and Motrin for the fever and you just have to take care of them and hold them," said Gene.

Again, Dr. Huange says most swine flu can be treated with supportive care such as fever reducers, a humidifier, plenty of liquids and a lot of rest. Today the makers of the antiviral Relenza did report one death linked to the drug.

Manufacturers say the death resulted after the powder drug was reformulated into liquid form, something not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration.


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