Most cases of flu, including H1N1 flu, need no treatment other than swine flu symptoms relief. If you have a chronic respiratory disease, your doctor may prescribe additional medication to decrease inflammation, open your airways and help clear lung secretions.
The antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) can reduce the severity of symptoms, but flu viruses can develop resistance to them. To make development of resistance less likely and maintain supplies of these drugs for those who need them most, antivirals are reserved for people at high risk of complications.
The following people may be at high risk:
1. Children younger than 5 years old, especially those younger than age 2
2. Adults 65 years of age and older
3. People with:
- Chronic lung (including asthma) or heart conditions (except high blood pressure).
- Kidney, liver, neurologic, and neuromuscular conditions.
- Blood disorders (including sickle cell disease).
- Diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
- An immune system that does not work well, such as AIDS patients or cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. See this related page on chemo side effects.
4. Pregnant women
5. Anyone younger than age 19 receiving long-term aspirin therapy
6. Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
People with H1N1 flu should also:
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink more water