Here is the CDC Influenza Home Page
Here is the CDC Information for Health Professionals Influenza Page. This page links to pages that “offer public health and health care professionals key information about vaccination, infection control, prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of seasonal influenza.”
The most important point of the page below is that patients at high risk of complications from influenza infection should receive prompt antiviral therapy.
From the page below:
To facilitate early initiation of treatment, when feasible, an antiviral prescription can be provided without testing and before an office visit. [Emphasis added]
The Seasonal Influenza A(H3N2) Activity and Antiviral Treatment of Patients with Influenza Distributed via the CDC Health Alert Network December 27, 2017, 1030 ET (10:30 AM ET) is an official CDC Health Advisory [what follows are excerpts from this page]:
This CDC Health Advisory is being issued to—
- Remind clinicians that influenza should be high on their list of possible diagnoses for ill patients because influenza activity is increasing nationwide, and
- Advise clinicians that all hospitalized patients and all high-risk patients (either hospitalized or outpatient) with suspected influenza should be treated as soon as possible with a neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral. While antiviral drugs work best when treatment is started within 2 days of illness onset, clinical benefit has been observed even when treatment is initiated later.
1. CDC Antiviral Recommendations for the 2017–2018 Season
CDC recommends antiviral medications for treatment of influenza as an important adjunct to annual influenza vaccination. Treatment with neuraminidase inhibitors has been shown to have clinical and public health benefit in reducing illness and severe outcomes of influenza based on evidence from randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials, and observational studies during past influenza seasons and during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.1,2,3,4,5,6
2. All Hospitalized, Severely Ill, and High-Risk Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Influenza Should Be Treated with Antivirals
Any patient with suspected or confirmed influenza in the following categories should be treated as soon as possible with a neuraminidase inhibitor:
1) Any patient who is hospitalized—treatment is recommended for all hospitalized patients;
2) Any patient who has severe, complicated, or progressive illness—this may include outpatients with severe or prolonged progressive symptoms or who develop complications such as pneumonia but who are not hospitalized;
3) Any patient who is at higher risk for influenza complications but not hospitalized. Patients in this group include—
- children younger than 2 years (although all children younger than 5 years are considered at higher risk for complications from influenza, the highest risk is for those younger than 2 years)
- adults aged 65 years and older
- persons with chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension alone), renal, hepatic, hematological (including sickle cell disease), and metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus), or neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy [seizure disorders], stroke, intellectual disability [mental retardation], moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury)
- people with immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV infection
- women who are pregnant or postpartum (within 2 weeks after delivery)
- people aged younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- American Indians/Alaska Natives
- people with extreme obesity (i.e., body-mass index is equal to or greater than 40)
- residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
3. Timing of Treatment and Implications for Patient Evaluation, Treatment, and Testing
Clinical benefit is greatest when antiviral treatment is administered as early as possible after illness onset. Therefore, antiviral treatment should be started as soon as possible after illness onset and should not be delayed even for a few hours to wait for the results of testing. Ideally, treatment should be initiated within 48 hours of symptom onset. However, antiviral treatment initiated later than 48 hours after illness onset can still be beneficial for some patients.
Because of the importance of early treatment, decisions about starting antiviral treatment should not wait for laboratory confirmation of influenza. Therefore, empiric antiviral treatment should generally be initiated as soon as possible when there is known influenza activity in the community. A history of current season influenza vaccination does not exclude a diagnosis of influenza in an ill child or adult. During influenza season especially, high-risk patients should be advised to call their provider promptly if they have symptoms of influenza. It may be useful for providers to implement phone triage lines to enable high-risk patients to discuss symptoms over the phone. To facilitate early initiation of treatment, when feasible, an antiviral prescription can be provided without testing and before an office visit.