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What is the Best Treatment For Swine Flu? Disappointing News

At this time the best treatment for swine flu is prevention. Doing everything possible to avoid the flu may be more effective than the drugs and vaccine that we have (or maybe don’t have). The vaccine for H1N1 is scheduled to arrive in mid October but there will only be about 45 million doses and those will have to be doled out according to priorities set by your local health department.

The fact that we don’t have enough vaccine to go around may or may not be a problem. This vaccine was rushed into production and has not undergone the extensive testing that other vaccines have. The first question is will it work. The second question is what are the side effects. We won’t know those answers until late October.

There are two antiviral drugs available for flu, Tamiflu and an older drug Relenza. These drugs can be used to treat the flu or be used to prevent the flu in high risk populations like nursing homes. The good news is that the U.S. has at least enough stockpiled to treat 25% of the population. The bad news is that H1N1 might be immune to Tamiflu. In tests done in New York City last January, 99% of the H1N1 cases were Tamiflu resistant.

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