Swine Flu Treatment

Recent testing has shown that the swine flu can be treated with the antiviral medicines oseltamavir (brand name Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).

The UK, which the World Health Organisation have said are one of the better prepared countries, already has a stockpile of antivirals sufficient for treatment of half the population (and are working to increase this to 80%), which is thought to be a reasonable worst-case scenario. However, the drugs must be administered at an early stage to be effective.

It's important to understand that antivirals are not a cure, but they help you to recover by:

* relieving some of the symptoms,
* reducing the length of time you are ill by around one day, and
* reducing the potential for serious complications, such as pneumonia.

The UK government has confirmed that it has built up a stock of 23 million treatments of Tamiflu and 10.5 million treatments of Relenza.

Arrangements are being set in place with local UK healthcare services for antivirals to be made available to those who need them. People with symptoms and others at risk will be assessed by their GP. If antivirals are required, the GP will contact the local health protection unit, which is coordinating the distribution of antivirals.

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