INFLUENZA

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What are the symptoms?

Influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract. Some people confuse stomach flu with Influenza. Stomach flu is a viral infection of the gastrointestinal tract that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Influenza and stomach flu are not related.  Influenza has a rapid onset of the following:

The above symptoms are followed over the next few days by sore throat, nasal congestion, stomach pain, nausea and occasionally vomiting. The fever usually lasts 2 to 4 days with the majority of symptoms starting to improve by the 5th to 6th day. The cough can occasionally last a few weeks. There are 2 types of Influenza, A and B. You cannot tell the difference without lab tests.

How is it spread?

                Influenza is spread by nasal, oral and coughed out secretions. Influenza is contagious for 24 hours before symptoms start until 7 days after they start or until the symptoms are much improved, whichever is longest. The incubation period from contact to onset of symptoms is 1 to 3 days. Influenza usually occurs during a season from December to April each year with the peak time in this area in January.

How do I treat it at home?

                The time-honored home remedies are still effective. Drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest, and take ibuprofen (Motrin) for the aches and pains. You can also take acetaminophen (Tylenol) in addition to the ibuprofen, if the ibuprofen alone is not helping enough. Cold medications are generally not of much help, but you can try them if you wish.

What do I watch for?

What about the vaccine?

The vaccine is quite effective and safe . It can be given as early as 6 months of age, takes 3 weeks to work, can give minor muscle aches and a fever for a few days, and cannot give you the flu. The vaccine is generally available in October, you should get it before December if possible, but you can get it as late in the season as you want if you need it. The vaccine is recommended for the following groups:

What about prescription medicines?

                There are some medications that may reduce the duration and severity of Influenza. Amantadine is effective against Influenza A, but not Influenza B. Amantadine must also be started within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of symptoms to be of any help. Amantadine is mainly used when we know the patient has Influenza A (from hospital tests). In that case, we give it to family members to reduce the chance of them getting it. Rimantidine is similar to Amantadine, but is used more for prevention. Zanamivir (Relenza) is a nasal spray, only for use above 12 years of age, is effective for Influenza A and B, and may reduce the duration of the symptoms by 1 to 2 days. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is an oral medication similar to Zanamivir.

                The problem with all of the prescription medications is that they only work for Influenza. There are several viruses that can mimic Influenza; therefore we often need lab tests to be sure about the diagnosis. Neither Amantadine, Rimantidine nor Zanamivir make a major difference in the illness duration or symptoms and its hard to justify their cost. Oseltamivir appears more promising in initial studies in kids.

OVER THE COUNTER MEDICINES

Medication

8 lbs

16 lbs

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64 lbs

>80 lbs

Tylenol Drops 80mg/0. 8cc

0.4cc

0.8 cc

1.2 cc

1.6 cc

2.2 cc

3.2 cc

 

Tylenol Elixir 160mg/tsp

1/3 tsp

1/2 tsp

3/4 tsp

1 tsp

1.5 tsp

2 tsp

3 tsp

Tylenol Suppository Dose

40 mg

80 mg

120 mg

160 mg

240 mg

320 mg

500 mg

Motrin Drops 40mg/cc

0.4 cc

0.8 cc

1.2 cc

1.6 cc

2.2 cc

3.2 cc

3.2 cc

Motrin Elixir 100mg/tsp

1/3 tsp

1/2 tsp

3/4 tsp

1 tsp

1.5 tsp

2 tsp

2 tsp

Motrin 50mg chewable

 

 

1

2

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4

Motrin 100mg chewable

 

 

 

1

1.5

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2