Doctors Advise Swine Flu Treatments

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As millions of kids began their first day of school Tuesday, concerns mounted surrounding the effectiveness of new swine flu treatments.

The swine flu among children is already on the rise in the southeast, where schools started weeks ago, and on college campuses. 

So far, cases have been generally mild.

"I felt pretty fatigued yesterday. I got the chills," said Courtney Kirkwood, a college student with swine flu. "I had a little fever that broke around 4:00 a.m."

Still, those keeping an eye on the virus say it's becoming resistant to the drugs used to treat it -- antivirals like Tamiflu and Relenza, that are being misused and overused.

"Most children and adolescents who have influenza-like illness do not need antiviral medicine," one doctor said. "In fact, if all of those people take antiviral medicines, things may actually get worse."

Medical experts say it's important that people who take Tamiflu or Relenza take the entire five-day course, even if they feel better before that time.

Doctors are also advised not even to prescribe the antivirals to their patients unless they have a serious case of the swine flu or are in a high-risk group such as pregnant women, people with asthma, chronic heart disease, lung disease, the very young, and the very old.

These people should be treated immediately if they have flu-like symptoms. Although the swine flu has developed some drug resistance, fortunately, it has not mutated.

"That's good news because it means the vaccines we're working on right now should be very good matches with the H1N1 virus that's circulating," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Those vaccines should be available in October and may be offered in school, but not required.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.