Q. I got the flu a few years ago and took Tamiflu one day after my symptoms began. I improved quickly and dramatically, with all my symptoms more or less non-existent within two days of starting the medication. I don’t like taking any meds whatsoever; my doctor convinced me to take the Tamiflu. I’m glad it worked well for me and thought I would mention it for others.

A. We’re glad you followed your doctor’s recommendation to take Tamiflu. The CDC recommends antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza when people catch influenza, particularly if they are in high-risk groups such as people with chronic illness.

Taken within 48 hours of symptoms, such drugs can shorten the duration of the illness and make a difference between a mild illness and one with severe complications. A study of children hospitalized with flu found that prompt treatment with Tamiflu improved survival (Pediatrics, Dec., 2013).

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) can cause adverse effects, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; headache; nosebleeds; earaches; and a few rare but serious reactions such as delirium or severe allergy.

You can learn more about treating influenza in our Guide to Colds, Coughs & the Flu.

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  1. CGB
    Reply

    I just visited a couple of friends I had not seen for several weeks. They have had the flu, big time, with all the bronchial issues. They both had their flu shots this year.

  2. TS
    Reply

    Tamiflu may work very well, but there’s no reason a healthy adult shouldn’t get a flu shot. Not only will you protect yourself, you’ll protect the lives of others around you. Once you’ve contracted the flu virus, you will be highly contagious. Every year, people die from the flu. Don’t infect others… get vaccinated.

  3. hungrybill
    Reply

    I never had the flu (except in bootcamp) until about my 40th year (I am now 70). Then I had flu-like symptoms every year. The symptoms usually lasted seven days and always included one or two very bad days of body aches, congestion, tiredness, and general hopelessness followed by 30-60 days of coughing. Many years I had these symptoms twice; one year, three times. I never had just the “sniffles”, so maybe this is the way my body reacts to cold viruses. I tried Tamiflu once, but it did not help.
    Five years ago I began taking 5,000IU of Vitamin D every day, and 50,000IU up to 250,000IU when the first symptoms hit – almost always a sore throat. The first two years, I had a much milder case, and NONE AT ALL the last three years!
    That’s what has worked for me. At first I was a little leery of taking so much Vitamin D, but I have read that you have to take many times the above amounts to actually overdose on it. Does anyone know someone who overdosed on Vitamin D?

  4. mel
    Reply

    When my son came down with R1N1 a few years ago, he was prescribed Tamiflu. As a child with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (now Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis), he was in the “at risk” category because he was taking immune suppressing drugs. The drug worked well and he was better in about 1 1/2. My daughter and I have asthma, and were also prescribed Tamiflu when we came down with the same virus and it worked well for us, too (2 days/4 days duration). As a mom, it was a big relief.

  5. JEC
    Reply

    I had the same experience a few years ago. While my husband had suffered with severe flu symptoms for about a 2-week period, I called the doctor as soon as I became ill and was prescribed Tamiflu. My symptoms, which were much milder, only lasted about 2 days. I’m a believer – it’s good stuff.

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