Questions and answers about antivirals
Frequently asked questions about the use of antivirals for prevention and treatment of influenza; What are the uses of antivirals against seasonal influenza? Which are the antivirals we use in Europe against seasonal influenza and who should get them? If antivirals are so good why don’t doctors give them out more often? Do people who have been immunized against influenza need antivirals?
Factsheet about seasonal influenza
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Flu transmits easily from person to person. It does this through the air or from contaminated hands or surfaces. The risk of getting or causing infection is easily reduced by taking some simple preventive steps. Immunisation in particular decreases the risk of a person being infected. Proper use of flu vaccines is the most effective form of protection.
Infographic: How do antivirals treat and protect against influenza?
This ECDC infographic explains how antivirals treat and protect against influenza. The recommendations to treat patients with severe influenza are based on the evidence from randomised controlled trials, observational studies, extrapolation from studies, and a generally benign safety profile of these medicines.
Types of seasonal influenza vaccine
Injected trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines are most commonly used throughout the world. Influenza antigen preparation varies between manufacturers. The inactivated influenza vaccines available in the EU/EEA may contain either split virion influenza virus products or subunit influenza products.
Personal protective measures (non-pharmaceutical) for reducing the risk of acquiring or transmitting human influenza
In the absence of a specific vaccine, there are a number of personal measures that people may take to reduce their risk of acquiring influenza. Influenza is a viral infection that spreads from person to person principally when people cough or sneeze, or by direct or indirect contact with respiratory secretions from infectious persons that are on their hands or on surfaces. The following recommendations are based in part on evidence from studies and in part on judgement based on public health experience.
ECDC Vaccine Scheduler
The Vaccine Scheduler is an interactive tool that shows vaccination schedules for individual EU/EEA countries and specific age groups.
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