Driving innovation, finding new and better ways to do things, discovering time-savers and short-cuts…these motivations are hardwired into our society. When the flu hits home, no one wants to lose the days and suffer the misery associated with letting nature run its course. If there’s an easier way, naturally, that is what we want. But what really will reduce my sick time and what is just social media hype?
What’s the easiest way to fight my flu?
Today, there are two prescription medications available that are commonly claimed to cut your flu duration in half. These two drugs are the orally-administered oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and the nasal spray zanamivir (Relenza®). These two medications have been proven to be effective in fighting influenza A and influenza B viruses when taken within the first 48 hours of showing symptoms. But, how effective are these drugs?
Can it really cut my sick time in half?
Recently, questions have been raised as to how effective oseltamivir and zanamivir really are in decreasing the length of flu symptoms.
According to the Journal of Emergency Medicine, oseltamivir and zanamivir have been shown to decrease normal flu time by showing an alleviation of the first symptoms by 16 hours and 12 hours, respectively. Whether this is actually cutting your sick time in half or not is debatable.
Unfortunately, neither drug appears to reduce the rate of flu-related hospitalizations in adults or in healthy children (JEM, epub, January 4, 2016). They also will not prevent secondary bacterial infections that may result from having the flu.
What are the side effects?
As with any drug, there are side effects and potential allergic reactions. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), potential adverse reactions to oseltamivir include nausea, vomiting, skin reactions and psychiatric events which are mainly reported among Japanese adolescents and adults. The CDC reports that an allergy to zanamivir may include facial edema. Additional adverse reactions related to zanamivir include diarrhea, nausea, sinusitis, nasal signs and symptoms, bronchitis, cough, headache, dizziness, and ear, nose and throat infections.
If these or other symptoms are severe, call your physician immediately or come to Advance ER for an evaluation.
Who should get this medication?
The CDC recommends that patients who are at risk for complications from the flu or who have a severe, progressive illness or who are already hospitalized should take the medication as soon as possible after the first symptoms appear you could try these out. Other patients may also benefit from the medication if taken within the first two days of the flu.
Get help at Advance ER
When the flu hits you or your family, the professionals at Advance ER are ready for you. You can walk in any time, day or night, and be seen by a board-certified physician. If oseltamivir or zanamivir are right for you, your physician will take the time to explain the medication to you to help you make the right decision for your health.
If you are suffering from a bacterial infection—such as a sinus infection—relating to your influenza, we can diagnose and treat those conditions as well. Generally speaking, whether you are suffering from viral or bacterial infections, the earlier you can receive medical treatment, the better.
Fight the flu faster with help from your neighborhood Advance ER.