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Vaccination is the most important measure providers can take to protect patients against influenza. Most influenza is clinically mild and the majority of patients do not need specific diagnostic testing or antiviral therapy. Many patients can be advised to stay home.
To prevent serious illness or death due to influenza, it is critical that certain patients with influenza-like illness receive early antiviral therapy. These include:
Antiviral therapy should be initiated as early as possible, ideally within 48 hours of symptom onset.
Poster - When to Prescribe Flu Antivirals (PDF, 11 x 17 size)
Poster - When to Prescribe Flu Antivirals (PDF, 8.5 x 11 size)
To manage patients effectively, providers should refer to current local surveillance data to find out which respiratory viruses are predominating. Reliable and rapid diagnostic tests for influenza are not available for point-of-care decision-making.
Patient management requires clinical judgment and should take into account current surveillance data, severity of illness and patient risk factors.
The Health Department has a locator service to help patients find flu vaccine and health care if they cannot see their own provider.