CDC offers new guidelines for flu antiviral drugs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

CDC offers new guidelines for flu antiviral drugs

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Another Georgian has died from swine flu. He's the fifth H1N1 victim in Georgia. The South Central Health District confirmed Tuesday afternoon that a 51-year-old Telfair County man died from swine flu in Dublin Tuesday morning.

He'd been hospitalized for several days according to health officials. The same day, the government released new guidelines for use of anti-viral drugs to make sure flu medication gets to people who need it most.

The two main antivirals for flu are Tamiflu and Relenza. The Centers for Disease control now wants to prioritize who gets those drugs-- patients who are severely ill and patients who are at extreme risk for flu complications. Businesses and individuals are also taking their own steps to prevent the flu from spreading.

Teresa Cherry and David Carlton are no strangers to a good workout. "We're probably at the gym about three to four times a week," said Carlton.

They say it's a necessity. "Very important," said Cherry, "especially when you get our age."

But as they work out, swine flu causes worry. "Oh yes it does," said Carlton.

At a place like Tony's Gym where numerous people touch the same equipment throughout the day, you can understand how some could be concerned. "I'm a very healthy person. I like to stay fit and I certainly don't want to get sick," said Carlton.

To help ease fears, gym employees are taking precautions. They say they wipe down equipment regularly. "Everything, the railing, the base of the machine, everything," said Tony's Gym employee Kaley Shanks.

Hand sanitizer is also in different spots around the gym. They also want to make sure members don't appear to be too sick to work out and spread germs. "If they were to act like they were or look like it we would ask them to leave temporarily until they felt better," said Shanks.

And that's the same thing the CDC wants doctors to tell most of their patients.  Unless it is completely necessary, patients should simply stay home until better without meds like Relenza or Tamiflu. This comes as flu is hitting more people.

"We have definitely seen an increase in cases, especially with children," said Pharmacist Stephanie Sceals.

There are plenty of cases but U-Save-It Pharmacy in Albany has seen a shortage of the Tamiflu supply. Sceals hopes the new guidelines help build up the supply. "I hope so. Right now we're limited and can only order six boxes of Tamiflu which would equal six people per day," said Sceals.

The recommendations are aimed at getting meds to those who need them the most. Workout partners Carlton and Cherry have their own recommendation to keep flu away. "Try to wipe my hands down with antiseptic wipes. I keep them in my gym bag as a precaution," said Carlton.

It's a precautionary routine that keeps them pushing through the weekly workouts.

Most people recover from the flu without medication. The people who really need it are those at risk of complications. That includes children 5 years old and younger, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain chronic conditions.

You can do simple things to prevent the spread of flu like keeping your hands clean, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve and staying home if you're sick.

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