The People's Perspective on Medicine

Tamiflu to Help You Recover from the Flu

If influenza strikes, you could ask the doctor about a prescription for Tamiflu to help you recover from the flu a bit more quickly.

When flu season arrives each year, people start to pay extra attention to hand hygiene and getting enough sleep. Those tactics can be helpful, but they are far from perfect for preventing an influenza infection. The usual recommendation to get a flu shot also falls short of providing perfect protection. So if you come down with aches, fever, congestion and other signs of a nasty infection, what can you do to help yourself recover from the flu?

Medicine to Help You Recover from the Flu:

Q. I have been washing my hands obsessively and have been very careful not to touch my face. But many people around me have been sick with the flu, including a co-worker who her dragged herself into the office despite a high fever.

I started with a little tickle in my throat Monday night. By Tuesday morning I was really sick with fever, aches, chills and a terrible headache. I went straight to the doctor and was prescribed Tamiflu, which I immediately started taking.

I was too sick to do anything but try to sleep for two days. By the end of the second day, though, the fever was gone and I started to feel a bit better. The next day I felt well enough to go to work and was completely recovered the day after. Thank goodness for Tamiflu! Many of my co-workers were out a lot longer.

Tamiflu for Influenza:

A. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) can shorten a bout of the flu by up to a day and a half. That may not sound like much, but it makes a difference when you feel as terrible as you did. A recent review from Germany concluded that “The benefits of antiviral drugs…outweigh their risks” (Deutsches Arzteblatt International, Nov. 25, 2016).

Side Effects of Tamiflu:

The most common side effects of Tamiflu include digestive tract upset and headache. Some people report psychological side effects. A rash requires immediate medical attention. You can read more about the pros and cons of Tamiflu, including side effects, here.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Recently I came down with a headache, chills, body ache, and finally high fever. I felt like I had been run over by a bus. I called out sick the next day to find a coworker was diagnosed with type B influenza and was placed on Tamiflu. I slept for basically 24 hours (was NOT up to going to a doctor’s office to request Tamiflu). I was weak but feeling much better 24 hours later, and 90% better two days later. The coworker who took Tamiflu was out all week and part of the next. Not the first time I’ve seen this happen. Not a fan of Tamiflu based on what I see in our medical facility. (I’m aware that it affects people differently)

Tamiflu was just horrible for me when I took it a few months ago for flu. I got stomach pain that was more like pressure and it was so bad I actually thought I might be having a heart attack. I also got blisters inside my mouth. I got just about every side-effect listed on the sheet enclosed with the medicine. I only took a few doses and within hours, felt much better (aside from the flu symptoms).

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