With flu season ratcheting up over the past few weeks, Emergency providers and primary care providers have been flooded with patients presenting with influenza like illnesses.  I’ve personally experienced this while working this past week in the Emergency Room.

The decision to use Oseltamivir (TamiFlu) by physicians is often the “48 hour rule” of symptoms presenting — however, there are more nuance questions that can arise when deciding on antiviral therapy.

Can I administer Tamiflu to pregnant patients?
What is the dosing for Tamiflu in pediatric patients?
What should I do about immunocompromised patients who have passed the 48 hour window?

All these questions can be answered on the CDC’s website, but also with their app CDC Influenza. The app’s code hasn’t been updated since last year, but the content within the app syncs with the CDC’s website when you open the app, so the content should be up to date.

How to effectively use the app:

When you open up the app, you can get overwhelmed with the amount of topics to choose from. What you really need is figuring out antiviral therapy recommendations by the CDC (definitely check out the other sections though as they have some great content, e.g. peri/post partum infection control, etc).

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Tap “Antiviral Drugs”, and then tap “Influenza antiviral medications: Summary for clinicians”

You can then bookmark this section so it’s easier to reference later. The CDC took the app a step further, and included a highlight and note feature — so you can select key parts of the section you want to be able to reference even quicker.

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Websites:

The CDC’s website has great content that’s not available in the app, such as notifications on Peramivir (Rapivab), a new IV one time dose antiviral approved last month by the FDA for treatment of influenza.  The following are links from the CDC that are useful for flu management.

CDC Flu View
Weekly US influenza report
Antiviral recommendations

Obviously, I’m not going to delve into the datasets used to justify the administration of TamiFlu and the Cochrane Collaborative’s findings — that’s something I’ll let my peers in academia voice their opinions about.

But when you’re trying to find more nuance indications for antiviral therapy, the CDC’s app and website are definitely useful.

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