It’s Still Flu Season! Preventing and Treating the Flu

January 26, 2021 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

For I’m excited to once again partner with Med-IQ to educate parents and caregivers about flu season. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey linked at the end of my post. I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Genentech to write about the symptoms and treatments for pediatric influenza. All opinions are my own.

Pandemic numbers continue to rise. Kids continue to learn virtually. Cold weather is pushing us further into quarantine. And if there wasn’t already enough to worry about, flu season is still in full swing. Peak flu season generally lasts from December to February. Every year, millions of children contract the flu — resulting in thousands hospitalized and many dead.

A while back I shared about the symptoms of pediatric flu — in particular how they compare to COVID-19 and the common cold. This time I’m focusing on treatment options, specifically antiviral medications.

First of all, I want to reiterate that getting yourself and your family vaccinated is the best way to prevent contracting the flu. CDC reports show that a vaccine reduces the risk of getting flu to between 40% and 60%, depending on the year and strains of flu going around. That’s great, but still leaves an average 50-50 chance of contracting the flu. So how do you best treat it?

Parents and caregivers may not always recognize flu symptoms, especially as some overlap with colds and COVID-19. This may prevent them from quickly seeking medical care. Recognizing flu symptoms and early intervention are vital, particularly for young children. Getting your child to the pediatrician early on can help prevent further complications like pneumonia and ear infections.

Delaying treatment also increases the risk of serious flu-related complications for children and other high-risk family members. This also prevents early initiation of antiviral treatments that are most effective when used within 48 hours of the first symptoms.

What antiviral treatments are available for the flu?

The CDC recommends four FDA-approved drugs to treat flu this season:
  Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) – requires one pill for one day (vs. Tamiflu’s five-day treatment). It’s recommended you ask your doctor for anti-nausea medication as well, as nausea may be a side effect.
  Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate)
  Rapivab (peramivir)
  Relenza (zanamivir)

Are antivirals safe for children?

Yes! Antiviral treatment is recommended ASAP for any patient with suspected or confirmed flu symptoms who:
  Is hospitalized
  Has severe, complicated or progressive illnesses
  at higher risk for flu complications (children under the age of 5)

What are the benefits of antiviral treatments?

  Prompt treatment decreases the duration of flu symptoms
  Data suggests that high risk patients who receive antiviral medications can reduce duration of symptoms, further complications (bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections), hospitalization and death.

If someone in your family gets the flu, how can you prevent other household members from getting it?

  If someone is exposed to the flu, you may need to start antiviral treatment for high-risk members of your household.
  If someone contracts the flu, post-exposure antivirals may be needed for adults and children over 3 months old. These should be administered within 48 hours of exposure — call your doctor right away.
  Consider having the family member with the flu wear a mask.
  If siblings share a room, separate them and have the well child(ren) sleep in a separate room from the sick child(ren).
  As with all viruses, wash your hands regularly!
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MORE FACTS = BETTER PREPARED TO TREAT THE FLU

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Here’s the survey I mentioned, and why you should take it:
  It will help you better equip yourself with more knowledge about pediatric flu.
  Your input will provide important feedback to Med-IQ, who will use it to better educate healthcare professionals.
  BONUS: you could win one of ten $100 VISA gift cards! That’s good for what ails you!
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Flu Season survey

Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with pediatric influenza, which will help us develop future educational initiatives.

WIN A $100 VISA GIFT CARD!

Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win one of ten $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.

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ABOUT MED-IQ
Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides top-notch educational experiences for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals.

Read more about flu antiviral treatments at CDC.gov.

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