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Influenza Treatments and Drugs

January 25, 2014

Usually people sick with the flu do get well after a week or two without any need for treatment. The problem starts when flu complications arise. You may need to call your physician or nurse if you:


  • Have a problem breathing or feeling short of breath
  • Have pressure or pain in your abdomen or chest
  • Have symptoms of dehydration like not passing urine or dizziness when standing
  • Feel confused
  • Cannot drink enough fluids or cannot stop vomiting


If your child has flu and shows the following signs and symptoms, you may need to seek medical help.


  • Does not easily wake up
  • Purplish or bluish skin color
  • Irritability – Your child does not want to be held
  • Does not shed tears when crying (especially among infants)
  • Rash with fever


Treating Symptoms — This means that flu symptoms will be reduced but the flu itself will not be treated. Some of the ways to reduce symptoms of influenza include:


  • Paracetamol or acetaminophen – Can include Tylenol among others. This drug can temporarily relieve muscle aches, headaches and fever. You can also use aspirin and other mild analgesics that can include PeptoBismol and bismuth subsalicylate among others. Aspirin should not be given to individuals under 18 years of age because it can lead to a very serious condition named Reye syndrome.
  • Fluids — Taking in copious amounts of fluids is needed for flu-stricken individuals in order not to be dehydrated. You can gauge if you are drinking enough fluids by observing the color of your urine. Normal urine color should look almost colorless or light yellow. You also know you are drinking adequate amounts of fluids if you pass urine every three to five hours.
  • Rest – In order to reenergize your body and boost your immune function you need to get adequate rest particularly if you are suffering from severe flu symptoms.

Antiviral medicines – These drugs work against influenza in very limited degrees. Antivirals hardly can eliminate the flu symptoms but it serves to lessen the duration of symptoms by one day as well as reduce their severity. There are some individuals with the flu who may need to take antiviral medicines to prevent the rise of complications and if they are seriously ill. People at low risk for complications and are only lightly sick are typically given an antiviral drug if their symptoms have lasted for two days or less. Some of the antiviral drugs can include active ingredients called zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu).  A couple of old medications called amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) are not prescribed anymore because today’s flu viruses have developed resistance to them. For seasonal flu, antiviral treatment can be effective as long at it’s taken during the first 2 days of flu symptoms.


The most effective medication will depend on certain individual factors and if the virus has still not developed resistance to the medicine. A nurse or doctor will be the ones to determine what drugs will be effective for the patient.  The side effects of oseltamivir and zanamivir are mild and they can include vomiting and nausea. Some people may develop breathing difficulty when they inhale zanamivir.  Because they only cause light side effects, people are still able to continue taking these drugs.


Antibiotics — These types of medicines are virtually useless in treating viral influenza and other viral illnesses. Antibiotics need only be used if you develop bacterial complication like sinusitis, ear infection or bacterial pneumonia. Antibiotics have certain side effects and often bacteria eventually develop resistance to these drugs.


Alternative and complementary treatments — A varied array of homeopathic, herbal, holistic and other alternative and complementary treatments are offered for treating influenza. One very good alternative medicinal treatment is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).


TCM has an entirely different approach to conventional treatments especially in regards to flu and cold. TCM is composed of dietary changes, moxibustion, herbal remedies and acupuncture among others. They all can be applied for the flu and colds and can also be used as forms of preventative medicine to reinforce the immune system and prevent the environment from doing damage to the body. Moxibustion and acupuncture are especially important in strengthening chi (vital energy) and removing elements that cause flu symptoms from the body. Certain herbal remedies can be applied for flu and cold. Astralagus and Cordyceps are potent plants that help strengthen the lungs, the most important organ when it comes to flu and colds.


 Needles & Moxa Wellness Center
700 S Red Rd
Miami, FL 33144
Ph: (305) 265-5265