Flu Vaccine and Tamiflu Shortage, What Can You Do?

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Drink lots of clear liquids for flu relief. Image by Thoursie

Drink lots of clear liquids for flu relief. Image by Thoursie

When Tamiflu is sold out, or your doctor doesn’t think your flu case is severe enough to warrant the prescription drug, there are still things you can do to address your flu symptoms.

  • Preventing dehydration is very important, drink clear liquids throughout the day.
  • Hot tea and honey can sooth a sore throat and provide warmth and comfort to a sick person.
  • Gargling salt water can also help with a sore throat: Mix one teaspoon of salt with one cup of water, gargle and spit out.
  • Treat a fever by placing a cool washcloth on the head, washing arms and legs with a cool cloth, and/or taking a lukewarm bath. (Never take a cold bath!)
  • You can also use over-the-counter medications to treat a fever; however, they do take 30 to 45 minutes to work and may not bring your temperature down to normal (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Treat a cough by setting up a humidifier in the room, this will make it easier for you to breathe. Ask a pharmacist about over-the-counter medications to help with the cough as well. However, do not give children under the age of four any cough or cold medications.
  • If you are one of the unfortunate few people who may have vomiting or diarrhea, try plain foods such as crackers and clear liquids. Adults maybe able to take medication to stop the diarrhea as well.

2013 Severe Flu Outbreak

Although the 2013 flu season looks pretty bad on the flu trends map, and we’re seeing shortages in both vaccines and antiviral treatments, you’ve still got options. Call around and find a clinic that’s still offering the flu shot if you’d like to get vaccinated, or else be prepared to treat mild flu symptoms at home and call a doctor if you experience a severe case of influenza.

Resources: 

Chicago Tribune. U.S. Faces shortage of flu vaccine, Tamiflu treatment. (2013). Accessed January 11, 2013.

USA Today. Questions and Answers. Flu Season hits U.S. January 10, 2013. (2013). Accessed January 11, 2013.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Taking Care of Yourself: What to do if you get sick with the flu. (2012). Accessed. January 11, 2013.

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