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Litman said doctors would rather get a call from or see a high-risk person "sooner rather than later" to decide if they need the anti-flu medications Tamiflu or Relenza. The drugs work best if taken within the first 48 hours of symptoms.
If fever goes away and then a new one sets in days later, seek medical care, Litman said. That can be a sign of bacterial infections that sometimes follow any type of flu.
For children, pediatricians advise watching activity levels. Being listless or lethargic can be a warning sign of worsening illness.
What if people without insurance can't afford the $100 or so anti-flu drugs? The government has shipped millions of doses from a federal stockpile to the states, and in what's being cited as a model program, Texas is using its stockpiled supply in part for those patients.
Doctors certify the person's lack of insurance coverage when they write the prescription and direct the patient to certain pharmacies. The goal is to have at least one pharmacy in every county that then fills the prescription for free or a nominal fee, said the state's health commissioner, David Lakey.
On the Net:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention background: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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