SRINAGAR: The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday advised doctors to use antiviral drugs for flu patients. In a statement issued here, DAK president and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan while urging doctors to prescribe antiviral medications for flu said the early use of these medicines provide life saving benefits to flu patients.
“Antiviral flu medications save lives, but unfortunately they are not utilized. Clinicians prescribe unnecessary antibiotics instead of antivirals to flu patients which is responsible for the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics cannot treat flu which is caused by viruses,” he said.
He said early antiviral treatment prevents the risk of serious complications and reduces deaths while suggesting that doctors should give these drugs to patients on clinical judgment and they should not wait for the test results.
“Antivirals work best when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. They are recommended for hospitalized patients or those who have severe illness and for patients who are at risk of developing serious complications. These drugs reduce the duration of flu symptoms and reduce the severity of flu,” he said.
The DAK president said the three approved antiviral drugs for flu are oral oseltamivir (Tamiflu), inhalaled Zanamivir and intravenous Peramivir. He said Tamiflu can also be used to prevent flu, but vaccination remains the first line of defense.
“Ideally, people should get flu shots before the season begins, however, vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the season. Only injectables are recommended this season, as nasal spray, popular among kids and needle-shy adults is not rec-ommended for use as it was found to be ineffective. Swine flu (H1N1) virus is now as one of the seasonal flu strains and there is no need to raise alarm about it as it is covered in the annual flu vaccine. Washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home when ill will help keep you and your loved ones healthy and well in winter,” Dr NIsar added.