Avian Influenza Treatment
There is no cure for bird flu and most cases resolve without treatment. The treatment of bird flu focuses on reducing the severity of the symptoms by providing rest, oral fluids, nasal decongestants, and acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Treatment may also include bronchodilators for wheezing. Additional treatment with antiviral medications can shorten the duration and reduce the severity of bird flu. Antiviral medications are especially important for those who have severe bird flu. Antiviral medications should be started within 2 days of the beginning of symptoms, in order to provide the most benefit.
Severe bird flu requires hospitalization for antiviral medication, intravenous fluids, and oxygen. A person with a severe lung infection caused by bird flu may require mechanical ventilation.
The treatment options for bird flu include:
- Antiviral medications for bird flu:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Bronchodilators for wheezing
- Pseudoephedrine (Actifed, Afrin, Sudafed)
- Phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine)
- Oxymetazoline (Allerest, Afrin, Dristan, Chlorphed)
- Nonprescription medications for cough:
- Oxygen therapy
- Mechanical ventilation:
- Use of a ventilator to support breathing in severe pneumonia
Avian Influenza Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of bird flu.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- Am I contagious?
- For how long?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Avian Influenza Specialist
Continue to Avian Influenza Warning Signs
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Update: Influenza activity--United States and worldwide, 2004-05 season. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Jul 1;54(25):631-4. 
- Curran R. Asian bird flu. Emerg Med Serv. 2004 May;33(5):38-9. 
- Trampuz A, Prabhu RM, Smith TF, Baddour LM. Avian influenza: a new pandemic threat? Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 Apr;79(4):523-30. 
- Ungchusak K, Auewarakul P, Dowell SF, et al. Probable person-to-person transmission of avian influenza A (H5N1). N Engl J Med. 2005 Jan 27;352(4):333-40.