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Flu Treatment

A male patient talking to his doctor

CDC recommends oseltamivir or zanamivir antiviral drugs to treat and prevent infection. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, or an inhaled powder) that stop flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications.

It’s very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat flu in people who are very sick with flu (for example, people who are in the hospital) and people who are sick with flu and have a greater chance of getting serious flu-related complications, including cancer patients and survivors.

When should cancer survivors be prescribed antiviral drugs to prevent the flu?

If you have received cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy within the last month, or have a blood or lymphatic form of cancer, call your doctor immediately if you have been within six feet of someone known or suspected to have the flu. Your doctor may give you antiviral drugs to help prevent the flu.

If you have cancer and have not received treatment within the last month, or you have had cancer in the past but are cancer-free now, and you have had close contact with someone known or suspected to have the flu, call your doctor and ask if you should receive antiviral drugs.

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