Do I need Tamiflu?

Good question.

The first thing is - DO NOT GET SICK - if you don't prepare now, you will run to buy as much as you can at the first sign of the pandemic reaching our country. You and everybody else. Personally I wouldn't want to be at Costco, Walmart, CVS, or Stop & Shop at that time. It will be chaos. Items will fly off the shelves. There may be people there who are already infectious. Some may be armed! Take my word on it - you do not want to be there.....

But... if you need to go out, need to work, or your teenager decides they MUST see their friends and sneaks out... and someone in your family gets sick... do you need Tamiflu? Remember, Norwalk and other area hospitals will be overwhelmed... you will not want to go there either.

First, make sure everyone in the household gets a flushot for the regular seasonal flu - this way if someone does come down with flu symptoms during the pandemic you will be pretty sure it's the Bird Flu. You don't want to waste your Tamiflu on the seasonal flu only to find yourself short when the real thing hits. Older persons should get a pneumonia shot too.

Let's talk anti-virals...

There are 2 different types of anti-virals to fight Bird Flu. Each type deals with the virus in a different way. Some strains of the current Bird Flu virus are resistant to one or the other ... but not both.

The main anti-virals, Tamiflu and Amantidine, are available through prescription from your doctor. Your doctor will fight you on it but if you are persistant they will write you a script. Get both - we do not know which anti-viral will work on the pandemic strain. Get double doses if possible. Also while you are there, ask for some antibiotics for any secondary bacterial infections flu causes.

Here is information from the CDC's website on anti-virals.

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals...mendations.htm

Antiviral drugs for influenza are an adjunct to influenza vaccine for controlling and preventing influenza. However, these agents are not a substitute for vaccination. Four licensed influenza antiviral agents are available in the United States: amantadine, rimantadine, zanamivir, and oseltamivir.

Amantadine and rimantadine are chemically related antiviral drugs known as adamantanes with activity against influenza A viruses but not influenza B viruses. Amantadine was approved in 1966 for chemoprophylaxis of influenza A (H2N2) infection and was later approved in 1976 for treatment and chemoprophylaxis of influenza type A virus infections among adults and children aged ?1 year. Rimantadine was approved in 1993 for treatment and chemoprophylaxis of influenza A infection among adults and prophylaxis among children. Although rimantadine is approved only for chemoprophylaxis of influenza A infection among children, certain specialists in the management of influenza consider it appropriate for treatment of influenza A among children.

Zanamivir and oseltamivir are chemically related antiviral drugs known as neuraminidase inhibitors that have activity against both influenza A and B viruses. Both zanamivir and oseltamivir were approved in 1999 for treating uncomplicated influenza infections. Zanamivir is approved for treating persons aged ?7 years, and oseltamivir is approved for treatment for persons aged ?1 year. In 2005, oseltamivir was approved for chemoprophylaxis of influenza among persons aged ? 1 year. In 2006, zanamavir was approved for chemoprophylaxis of influenza among persons aged ? 5 years.

The four drugs differ in pharmacokinetics, side effects, routes of administration, approved age groups, dosages, and costs. An overview of the indications, use, administration, and known primary side effects of these medications is presented in the following sections. Information contained in this report might not represent FDA approval or approved labeling for the antiviral agents described. Package inserts should be consulted for additional information.