Of all the treatments for influenza, Tamiflu is said to be the most effective in the recent times. It alleviates the symptoms and slows down the spread of the virus in the body. It works by blocking certain proteins which spread the flu virus by acting as a neuraminidase inhibitor. Also called by its generic name Oseltamivir, Tamiflu was synthesized by Gilead Sciences, a U.S. drug company.
A wonder drug as far as flu-fighting is concerned, Tamiflu works to cure all possible symptoms of the virus if taken within 36 to 48 hours of diagnosis of H1N1 or any other flu. However, of late, it has become a huge worry to parents on account of the severe side effects it evokes in children.
Tamiflu dosage for children: Any child that is above one year can be given Tamiflu. However, the dosage of the drug varies from child to child, depending on doctor’s advice. If a child is detected with influenza, it can be given Tamiflu within 36 to 48 hours to alleviate the symptoms.It is recommended that Tamiflu be given only to children who have incurred influenza and not to the ones who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. It is always good to not take Tamiflu as a preventative measure. In case of mild swine flu or influenza, you can seek your doctor’s advice as to what dosage should be given to your child. Tamiflu is available in two forms – liquid and tablets. Since the availability of liquid form is very scarce, many doctors prescribe pills. It maybe difficult to make children swallow pills. In that case, you can gather the pill powder and give the drug in liquid form or mix it with any other food of your child. Generally, the drug comes with a measurement cup to calculate in milligrams. So, ask your doctor to write your prescription in milligrams instead of milliliters.
Tamiflu causes a lot of side effects in children. Parents need to be aware of this before giving their children the drug.
1. General side effects: Tamiflu can lead to some general side effects like phlegm production, cough, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, skin flushing, rashness, eye swelling and tear production etc. Some other side effects include stomach upsets, indigestion, excessive tear production, insomnia, dizziness, headaches and nose bleeding.
2. Severe side effects: The severity of the side effects increases depending on whether you use the drug for preventative measure or treatment of influenza. Recently many newspapers reported the adverse side effects of Tamiflu in children. In most of the reported cases, the parents have administered Tamiflu as a preventative to their children.
3. Vomiting and Dehydration: One of the adverse side effects of the drug is dehydration. Some children react to the drug in a critical way resulting in continuous vomiting and dehydration. The latter side effect can increase risk of hospitalization which is what the medication was supposed to avoid in the first place.
4. Adverse conditions: Conditions worsen if your child happens to be a chronic sufferer of asthma or other respiratory diseases. Seizures, hallucinations, memory loss, changes in personality are some of the adverse side effects of the drug.
The best possible way to prevent all these side effects is to administer the drug only when it is required and under strict medical supervision.
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