Can the flu be prevented with medication, and how to treat the flu? Popular science time

Respiratory diseases are common in children in winter, among which influenza virus is one of the common pathogens. For the questions that parents and friends are concerned about, we ask experts to answer.


Is there a specific drug for influenza, and can it be prevented with medication?

Oseltamivir is an antiviral drug that specifically targets the influenza virus and is able to shorten the duration of clinical symptoms. However, it is not recommended that children take anti-flu drugs as soon as they have a fever because there are many respiratory pathogens that cause fever, and oseltamivir is only effective against influenza.

The best way to protect against the flu virus is to get vaccinated aggressively. If there are no contraindications, active influenza vaccination is recommended for people older than 6 months. Pharmacological prophylaxis should be considered in children who are at high risk for severe influenza or complications from influenza and who have contraindications to influenza vaccine or who have not received influenza vaccine (or within 2 weeks of vaccination). Drug prophylaxis reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of influenza and regains susceptibility to influenza when the drug is stopped. Therefore, routine pharmacoprophylaxis in children is not recommended.


Do antimicrobials like azithromycin work for the flu?

Antimicrobials, including azithromycin, are not effective against viral infections. However, if there is a coinfection with influenza viruses and bacteria or mycoplasma, doctors may also consider the use of anti-influenza virus drugs in combination with antimicrobials.


How is the flu usually treated?

After infection with influenza virus, treatment includes two parts: antiviral and symptomatic treatment.

Anti-influenza virus drugs: At present, the main oral antiviral drugs for influenza viruses are neuraminidase inhibitors, commonly used drugs include oseltamivir and mabaloxavir, and intravenous drugs include peramivir. Once influenza is present, anti-influenza drugs should be used as soon as possible, especially within 48 hours of onset, but even if the course of illness is more than 48 hours, once the influenza is identified, it should be used aggressively.

Symptomatic treatment measures: mainly to reduce fever and relieve discomfort. You can choose antipyretics scientifically, and you can also use some medicines to relieve symptoms such as cough and nasal congestion. It is important to note that the drug ingredients of some combinations may overlap with other therapeutic drugs, and the combination may cause an overdose of one ingredient and cause adverse reactions in children.

Author: Zhao Guangyuan, attending physician of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Beijing Children's Hospital, Capital Medical University

Review: Wang Quan, an expert of the National Health Science Popularization Expert Database and Chief Physician of the Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Beijing Children's Hospital, Capital Medical University

(Healthy China WeChat public account)