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Should Tamiflu be given to my two-year-old son?

Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Answered by: Dr Satish Saluja
Consultant Neonatologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi
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Q. My two years old son had cold and cough, which within a day led to fever and heavy breathing. It is second day today. His condition is not deteriorating and he is active and his food intake (milk, water, some solids) is normal. He suffered from similar symptoms when he was six months old and was diagnosed with brochiolitis (viral infection). Now he has been prescribed Tamiflu and Augmentin along with Ventolin puff. Oxygen level was 97%, breathing was around 40 BPM and the chest X-Ray was normal. No PCR test was done as Qatar has adopted a new protocol wherein all patients with fever greater than 38.4 have to be given tamiflu and PCR is not done except for children below two years. Using the same protocol, they have prescribed tamiflu to my family members. My other son is six years old. Please advise if my two year old son should take tamiflu considering that there will be side effects. Should the rest of the family members, including my 6 years old son take tamiflu?

A.  Most likely your child has an episode of viral infection. However, when we are going through a phase of H1N1 infection which is also a viral infection, different countries have developed guidelines for diagnosis and management. Your concern about use of Tamiflu are right. Most countries do not recommend Tamiflu in asymptomatic individuals. Also, Tamiflu is not without side effects and should be used when the index of suspicion is high. It may be wise to discuss this issue with your local health personnel, raise your concerns and come to a solution.

A.  Most likely your child has an episode of viral infection. However, when we are going through a phase of H1N1 infection which is also a viral infection, different countries have developed guidelines for diagnosis and management. Your concern about use of Tamiflu are right. Most countries do not recommend Tamiflu in asymptomatic individuals. Also, Tamiflu is not without side effects and should be used when the index of suspicion is high. It may be wise to discuss this issue with your local health personnel, raise your concerns and come to a solution.

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