Influenza is a virus that affects our whole country every year. The center of disease control or CDC recommends use of the flu shot each year to prevent exposure to the virus. The flu vaccine can reduce the flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, and missed days of school and work. The more people that receive the flu vaccine, the more people will be protected from the flu. In my experience when I am trying to promote the flu vaccine, people often say “I don’t get the flu shot because it gave me the flu”. That statement is false. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. This is a myth that prevents many people from receiving the vaccination and can unintentionally increase the rate of the virus.
What can I do to prevent exposure?
First you should get the seasonal flu vaccine each year. The earlier you receive the vaccine, the better off you will be. Also encourage others to get the vaccine, such as your loved ones. If you have loved ones that are at high risk for flu complications, then getting the vaccine is very important. In addition to the vaccine, you can take everyday preventative actions such as washing your hands and staying away from sick people. This reduces the spread of germs and can be a vital part in preventing spread. The flu can be spread through the air and by contact from a sick person.
What to do if you get the flu
The first thing you should do is go to the doctor, they will confirm you have the virus and prescribe you medications. One of the medications that the doctor should prescribe is Tamiflu (Osetamivir). Tamiflu is an antiviral agent that can reduce the duration and intensity of the flu. You must begin taking Tamiflu within the first 48 hours after being diagnosed. Family members and other people that may be in contact with you should get Tamiflu as well for prevention. It comes in a box of 10 capsules, the dosing if you have the flu is one capsule twice a day for five days. The dose for prevention is one capsule a day for 10 days. It also comes in a liquid form for children or someone that cannot swallow capsules.
Phillip Curcio, PharmD Candidate 2018
South Carolina College of Pharmacy