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.