Sunday, January 15, 2006

influenza

Influenza is an acute respiratory tract infection accompanied by fever, cough, and myalgias. It is usually epidemic, occurring during the winter months with peaks from January through March. Respiratory mortality is increased, particularly in the elderly and those with underlying cardiac and pulmonary diseases. The incidence of influenza may be decreased by immunization. All individuals over age 65 and those with cardiorespiratory illnesses or other risk factors should be vaccinated every year, two to three months before the expected flu season. A 70 percent to 80 percent success rate can be anticipated. Those high-risk patients who remain unvaccinated may be partially protected by the use of amantidine, 100 mg twice daily. Since amantidine appears to prevent the entry of virus into cells and cell-to-cell transmission of virus, it may also be of some benefit in the treatment of active cases of influenza.
See also IMMUNIZATION IN THE ELDERLY.
Covington, T., and Walker T. Current Geriatric Therapy. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1984.

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