H5n1 Avian Flu Treatments

Even though the avian (“bird”) flu is far from reaching pandemic status, it’s still a serious disease that can spread between humans and have fatal implications. Therefore, you should seek medical treatment if you think you’ve contracted H5N1. Frequently, avian flu treatments are only effective if they’re taken right away.

Since there are different strains of the bird flu, avian flu treatments often vary from case to case. However, some basic avian flu treatments will help in almost all cases of bird flu. These treatments are frequently administered in pill form, though some avian bird flu treatments may require advanced medical assistance. Depending on your doctor’s diagnosis and clinical judgment, some patients may be given medicine, while others may be hospitalized.

Treating the Avian Flu

If the avian bird flu is detected within 48 hours of contraction, the antiviral medication Tamiflu® (generic: oseltamivir) may be administered. This medication helps to reduce flu symptoms, and has been effective in treating the symptoms of bird flu, so long as it’s detected early.If the bird flu is detected after the first 48 hours, Tamiflu® will more than likely to be ineffective.

If a patient has been living with avian flu symptoms for more than 48 hours, the best course of action is often in-hospital isolation. Since the bird flu is resistant to antiviral medications following the first 48 hours, flu symptoms may not be reversible. Those suffering from an advanced stage of the bird flu may require the assistance of a mechanical breathing apparatus.

Preventing the Bird Flu With Medication

Some medical professionals believe that opting for a regular flu shot can help prevent the avian flu from spreading. When the bird flu has had time to co-mingle with the regular flu, the result is a different strain of the bird flu that may cause a pandemic. Thus, the best way to prevent an avian flu epidemic is to obtain a regular flu shot.

If you are living with someone who has contracted the bird flu, doctors may recommend that you take Tamiflu® as a prophylactic measure. This medication can increase your resistance to the disease and prevent the spread of the bird flu from one person to another.

In the case of a pandemic, the United States government has developed a bird flu vaccine that, theoretically, can be administered in order to prevent spreading the virus from person to person.

Resources

New York Times Staff. (2010). Avian influenza. Retrieved April 19, 2010, from the New York Times Web site: http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/avian-influenza/overview.html.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Bird flu (avian influenza). Retrieved April 19, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bird-flu/DS00566.

World Health Organization (WHO) Staff. (2005). Avian influenza frequently asked questions. Retrieved April 13, 2010, from the WHO Web site: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/avian_faqs/en/.