Healthy living

Swine flu treatment

treatments can reduce severity of symptoms Advice on how to deal with the symptoms

For most people the effects of swine flu are mild and they should expect to recover within a week without the need for medical attention.

Treatment for mild symptoms

  • Stay at home
  • Get rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take medicines that contain paracetamol
  • Take standard over-the-counter cough medicines
  • Ensure that someone is around to check on you regularly

Treatment for severe symptoms

Anti-viral drugs such as Oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (brand name Relenza) are available to treat swine flu. These drugs are NOT cures but they can reduce the severity of the symptoms, reduce the length of illness and possibly prevent more dangerous complications such as pneumonia.

Both medicines are similar. However, Relenza is available as an inhaler and may be more suitable for pregnant women.

How do you get these drugs?

This answer applies to UK health care policy only. At present doctors can prescribe these drugs at their discretion to anyone diagnosed with swine flu. People in high risk groups are more likely to be given these drugs.

Is swine flu resistant to these drugs?

There have been only three cases reported so far where the virus was resistant to Tamiflu (but not Relenza). The World Health Organization (WHO) is motoring the situation closely. No resistance has been detected in the UK.

TheFamilyGP guide to swine flu

Action plan

For tips on how to be prepared for swine flu, and important contact numbers and sources of information.

Swine flu background

Risk groups

Progress of the disease

This article was published on Fri 17 July 2009

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