Antivirals are a class of drugs used particularly for viral infections treatment. They are utilized for certain viruses, just like antibiotics work for particular bacteria. There is a difference though – antiviral medications don’t ruin their target pathogen, they prevent their growth and spreading instead.
Antivirals are also a class of antimicrobial agents which includes antibiotics, anti-parasitics and antifungals. They are comparatively safe for patients, and for that matter can be utilized for infections treatment. However, antivirals must be differentiated from viricides that ruin virus particles but are not actual medicaments. Antivirals were also established in essential oils of some herbs (e.g. eucalyptus and its components).
The majority of antiviral medications is widely used and available these days, and is specifically created to treat such conditions as HIV, herpes, influenza A and B, hepatitis B and C.
Antiviral prescription medications help to successfully prevent serious complications after influenza and decrease the severity and a period of the illness by 1-2 days if it has already started. Antiviral medications for flu are usually the most effective within the first 48 hours since the symptoms began, even though there is still positive effect on a patient when the antiviral drugs are used later. Antiviral medicaments may be a good idea for a person if they were in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the flu. Although CDC doesn’t recommend using antiviral medications in such a case, because doing so may cause drug-resistance to the virus. A better option for individuals from groups of a high risk (patients with asthma, heart disease, diabetes and pregnant women) vaccination is recommended. Antiviral treatment is also suggested to such patients whenever the first symptoms of the flu show.
Antiviral drugs cause such side effects as nausea, cough, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, stuffy nose and certain behavioral changes. Depending on a person’s health condition a medical professional must prescribe a specific antiviral drug, and it is highly advisable to consult a doctor if you decide to get an OTC antiviral medication as an alternative.