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What should we do after being exposed to the flu?

What to do After Being Exposed to the Flu

My family has been exposed to someone diagnosed with influenza A. Should we get Tamiflu as a preventative measure? We are a mom, dad, toddler and infant. We all got our flu shot, except for our baby who is 3 months old.


Rosann Nichols | Pediatrician

Rosann Nichols

First of all, great job on getting your flu shots! It’s the first line of defense in protecting yourself as well as your infant who is too young to be vaccinated for influenza. 

There are varying circumstances where a prophylaxis may be indicated, but in general, if you and your family members are otherwise healthy individuals without chronic medical conditions, then routine prophylaxis with Tamiflu is not typically utilized. 

If you would develop flu like symptoms, primarily abrupt onset of fever, then treatment with Tamiflu may shorten the course of the illness. It is important to know that Tamiflu does not “cure” influenza, but does on average shorten the illness by 1-2 days.  It is also a good idea to discuss the potential side effects of Tamiflu with your provider before it is used. 

In order to receive the benefit of Tamiflu, it needs to be started within the first 48 hours of symptoms. New this year, there is a new approval for use of Tamiflu in children under 12 months of age with an altered dosing regimen. Therefore, treatment may be an option for your 3 month old as well as older family members should symptoms develop.

During this season of respiratory illnesses the most beneficial prevention measures are good handwashing, limiting exposure to those who are sick, and keeping yourselves away from school or work if you are demonstrating symptoms of illness.

Read more answers by Dr. Nichols