To take the edge off a bad influenza season, clinicians should prescribe antivirals for hospitalized, severely ill, and high-risk patients with flu symptoms without waiting for lab confirmation of the virus, according to the CDC.

“Antivirals are underutilized,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, in a press briefing today. “Doctors aren’t using them as recommended.” These drugs, he said, can reduce symptoms, shorten the duration of illness, and prevent serious complications. They pack the biggest therapeutic punch when prescribed within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.