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Format: 04/17/2014
Format: 04/17/2014

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KDKA-TV: WHO: Elderly, pregnant, kids should get Tamiflu

Monday, August 24th, 2009

 For the H1N1 flu, who will get Tamiflu?

If you're healthy, it isn't for you. That's what the health agency of the United Nations is saying about medication to treat H1N1 flu.

The World Health Organization recommends the anti-flu medication for those younger than 5, those older than 65 and pregnant women because of their risk of flu-related complications.

"They're basing their guidelines on the usual flu epidemics when there isn't a threat of swine flu," surmises internist Dr. Elliot Goldberg at West Penn Hospital.

The recommendations are different from what they're doing in England, where the British flu service will hand out Tamiflu to anyone with swine flu. And that approach isn't without risk.

"There's always a danger if you use drugs, you get resistance, and it changes the virus itself, and it mutates, and it could make it worse at later date, but that's a chance you need to take," says Dr. Goldberg.

The WHO says most people recover within a week without any medical treatment. Still, about 40 percent of the severe swine flu cases are in previously healthy children and adults, usually under 50 years of age.
 

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