It’s not too late to vaccinate!Texas Children's Health Plan
The influenza season is underway, and flu activity is increasing in the US according to the latest CDC reports. Most reports of severe illness are in unvaccinated patients, therefore vaccination continues to be critical to provide protection against infection. Laboratory data confirms that the influenza viruses circulating in our communities match the strains in the 2015-2016 influenza vaccines. It is NOT too late to vaccinate our patients as antibodies only take about 2 weeks to develop for protection against the virus.
According to CDC recommendations, all patients at high risk for complications who appear to have influenza should be considered for early antiviral treatment, independent of laboratory confirmation or influenza vaccine status. This approach can help reduce morbidity and mortality, particularly in young children and those who have underlying co-morbidities. Clinical trials and observational data show that early antiviral treatment can shorten the duration of fever and illness symptoms and reduce the risk of complications such as otitis media, pneumonia, and respiratory failure.
Although clinical benefit is greatest when treatment is started within 48 hours of influenza illness onset, antiviral treatment may still be beneficial in patients with severe, complicated or progressive illness, hospitalized patients, and pregnant women when initiated after 48 hours of illness onset.
Oseltamivir is the only oral formulation currently recommended by the U.S. FDA with activity against both influenza A and B viruses. It can be used for treatment of influenza illness at any age and for chemoprophylaxis in anyone 3 months and older. It is also safe for use in pregnant women. The most common side effects for Oseltamivir are nausea and vomiting.
Persons at high risk for complications who should receive Oseltamivir in the outpatient setting include:
- Pregnant and postpartum women
- Children aged younger than 2 years
- Persons with chronic illness such as asthma, diabetes, sickle cell disease, seizure disorders
- Persons with neurodevelopmental disorders such as cerebral palsy and intellectual disability
- Persons with immunosuppression
- Children on long-term aspirin therapy
Treatment with Oseltamivir in the outpatient setting can also be considered for any previously healthy patient who is not considered high risk but is symptomatic with confirmed or suspected influenza on the basis of clinical judgment, if treatment can be initiated within 48 hours of illness onset.
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