Influenza treatment

Submitted by San Juan County.

With influenza spreading rapidly throughout Washington and our own community, it is important to be aware of treatment options.

Rates of influenza in our community and throughout Washington state are very high, with new infections developing daily. Flu shots are still available and still effective at preventing influenza this time of year. As with many other respiratory illnesses, if you do find yourself ill with influenza, it is recommended that symptoms are treated with lots of rest, adequate hydration, and monitoring for signs of worsening symptoms and respiratory distress. The standard for medication therapy is what is available over the counter at your local pharmacy to help control cough and fever. There are antiviral medications available, but it is important to note that they are only recommended for people who are hospitalized, people who have severe and progressive symptoms, and people who are at high risk of developing complications. Those who are at high risk are:

Adults 65 years and older; Children younger than five years old (particularly those younger than two years old); People with asthma; People with blood disorders; People with chronic lung disease; People with endocrine disorders; People with heart disease; People with kidney or liver disease; People with metabolic disorders; People who are obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher; People younger than 19 years old on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications; People who are immunocompromised; People who have had a stroke; Pregnant people and people up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy; People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; People from certain racial and ethnic minority groups are at increased risk for hospitalization with influenza, including non-Hispanic Black persons, Hispanic or Lantinx persons, and American Indian or Alaska Native persons.

If you fall into one of these categories, Tamiflu (which is a prescription antiviral medication) may be indicated. But Tamiflu is not without risk and does require evaluation by a medical professional.

For more information about preventing the spread of flu, visit Everyone six months and older should be vaccinated for influenza and COVID-19 to lower the risk of transmission and serious illness. Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines can be safely administered at the same time.