PSA about Tamiflu and the Flu
by dulac89 (2013-01-02 11:59:37)
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There are some nasty flu strains going around, and at much higher levels much earlier than last year. The good news is that if you received this year's flu vaccine, you should have pretty good protection, as the most severe forms seem to be an Influenza A (H3N2) and Influenza B, covered by the vaccine. You may still get sick, but it won't be as bad as it could have been. Good old H1N1 is still out there too, which is the third component of the vaccine. So some PSA points:

1. If you haven't had the flu vaccine yet, it's not too late to get it. Even if you already had "the Flu" you likely only had one strain, and there are others floating around.
2. Influenza Medication is not like an antibiotic...it doesn't "kill" the vaccine. It slows the spread through the body, giving your own immune system time to catch up. If you're healthy, since it's a virus, your body will fight off the infection, just not as quickly.
3. Because they don't kill the virus, antivirals are generally worthless after 48 hours. If you've had symptoms for more than 48 hours, the virus has likely already spread enough that a medication to block its spread won't matter.
4. Of the few medications commonly used to treat the Flu, 2 have are now pretty worthless because of widespread resistance (amantadine and rimantidine). Influenza Viruses have already shown the ability to develop resistance against the others (Tamiflu, Zanamivir, and the other neuraminidase inhibitors), however right now activity is still pretty good.
5. Because there aren't many flu treatment medications that work, and the Flu Virus can and has developed resistance, use of Tamiflu should be limited to high risk patients with weaker immune systems: children younger than two years old, adults over 65, pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical or immunosuppressive conditions and adults under 19 on long-term aspirin therapy. Also if it appears like you're developing pneumonia like symptoms or if you are sick enough to require hospitalization, you should be treated also.

Why do I say this? The best way to "treat" the flu is to not get it by getting your flu vaccine. If you didn't get your vaccine, and are otherwise healthy and don't meet the treatment criteria, if it's outside 48 hours Tamiflu isn't going to make much difference. All you're going to do is expose more virus to more Tamiflu, which then accelerates the development of resistance. Bottom line, if everyone who had the flu were to get Tamiflu, most of whom would have gotten better regardless, after one or two flu seasons there would be NO medications that would work against the flu. This would mean those with weakened immune systems would be up a creek, and things would get really ugly fast.

So if you haven't, get your vaccine. If you have the flu, and are otherwise healthy, Tamiflu isn't going to make much difference, and by not taking it unless you need it you are helping ensure it still works for those who do need it to live.



While on topic - what's your opinion on shingles vaccine? *
by Frank Drebin  (2013-01-02 19:21:20)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I support it.
by dulac89  (2013-01-03 19:43:43)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It can be pretty debilitating. My mother-in-law was basically chair ridden in her living room for 6 months because of the severity of her outbreak.


Thank you. You are one of the reasons I visit the Back Room. *
by GraniteBayDomer  (2013-01-02 18:37:14)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Tamiflu caused me to hallucinate... Never again will I take
by smsalina  (2013-01-02 17:58:56)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It.

Family doctor Rx'ed it to me my sophomore year of HS. A few hours later I woke up and was hallucinating. No other drugs were in my system. Only reasonable explanation is the tamiflu caused it. This was almost 10 years ago. A quick google search, while not reliable research, shows others across the globe who have experienced similar effects.

I'm not a parent, but no way would I let my kid take that. I would advise anybody who does let thier kid take it to keep an eye on them. Maybe I'm the rare exception but I would rather take the extra 48 hours of being sick in bed then risk that again.


It's a known adverse effect
by Dinger9927  (2013-01-02 20:55:17)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It also happens to act on increasing the dopamine in your brain, which is why it is used as an antiparkinsonian agent. Nearly all antipsychotics are dopamine blockers.


you're not supposed to smoke it *
by cujaysfan  (2013-01-02 18:09:36)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I'm getting the flu shot at CVS tonight *
by Bob Loblaw  (2013-01-02 14:01:53)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Where does flu "go" in the off season?
by CMillar  (2013-01-02 13:49:56)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Once it works its way through a population, and presumably picks up a resistance to Tamiflu (and assorted antivirals) where does it go and hide before cropping up the next year?

Does it survive outside of living hosts? Why do we not have kick ass antiviral medicines yet? Just what the damn hell is going on here?!


The off season = summer = winter in the southern hemisphere. *
by PamBeesly  (2013-01-02 14:43:43)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


This. It migrates around the world.
by dulac89  (2013-01-03 19:40:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

They try to predict the best vaccine combination while it's on the other side of the world.


Why aren't colds caused by the cold?
by DakotaDomer  (2013-01-02 14:01:14)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

And what's the deal with airplane food?


Why only flashes of hot? Why only women? *
by geoffgeoffers  (2013-01-02 15:02:40)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

And why is it not called womenstruation?


Took Tamiflu within first 48 hours of symptoms
by bcbp  (2013-01-02 13:35:36)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Worked like a charm


I am just getting over Influenza A. I got the flu shot
by irishlala  (2013-01-02 13:26:35)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

and still caught it - though I know there are numerous strains. My wife and B7 caught it also - both had the shot. B10 did not get the shot and did not catch the flu. I was prescribed Tamiflu and it knocked it out almost immediately.

It was a crappy way to spend Christmas.


Very well stated.
by Blue Jogger  (2013-01-02 13:26:30)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I worked in the hospital this past week and this is obviously an early and potentially very bad flu season. The hospital is filled with elderly people with the flu and pneumonia.

I'll add that if you don't care about yourself getting the flu and don't want the vaccine for that reason, consider getting the vaccine if you're in contact with elderly or very young loved ones. You can spread the flu virus to them before you know you're sick. There have been 8 pediatric deaths in the US from the flu as of 12/22 and that number is going to skyrocket once Christmas break ends and kids are back at school.

The CDC website is a fantastic resource (linked)


Apologies for not getting vaccinated
by 206er  (2013-01-02 12:59:54)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I have an egg allergy, which makes getting one a bad idea.


Sorry, I have a cat *
by DakotaDomer  (2013-01-02 13:46:04)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


What are the odds the vaccine will give me the flu? *
by Mobster  (2013-01-02 12:56:50)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I don't know but...
by AZDomer  (2013-01-02 14:05:04)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I have one friend who died, and another who almost did by getting the flu vaccine. Something to do with the shots incubation in eggs.
As bad as his has been, I'll still never get a flu shot.


Egg allergies are contraindicated.
by dulac89  (2013-01-03 19:42:42)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Before you get the shot, they will review contraindications. If you don't have a contraindication, and have received a vaccine in the past, you're fine.


Zero.
by GailStanwyck  (2013-01-02 13:03:43)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Get the shot.

This is not medical advice.


Right on sister!
by dulac89  (2013-01-03 19:46:04)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

You get an ultra mild version of the flu when you get the vaccine, in that your immune system develops a response to the vaccine products, which cannot divide and spread in your body. In some people, it may be a little stronger than others...especially if you already are beginning to fight off another infection. Anyone who gets a full blown "flulike" infection from the flu either has a different virus, or was already exposed before they got the vaccine.


Amen. *
by ProV1x  (2013-01-02 15:25:56)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


You can get some mild flu-like symptoms from the shot.
by drbravo2  (2013-01-02 18:36:58)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm not really in one of the at-risk groups for the flu. I haven't had it in years. I got the flu shot like 4 years ago and got muscles aches and some nasal congestion.

It wasn't as bad as the flu, but it wasn't great.


They don't mention this on the tamiflu TV ads *
by 88_92WSND  (2013-01-02 12:56:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Are you a doctor?
by LondonDomer  (2013-01-02 12:32:33)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Have some other questions.


Sorry for the delay in responding. Shoot. *
by dulac89  (2013-01-03 19:37:25)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


{Insert Holiday Inn Express quip} *
by irishhawk49  (2013-01-02 15:58:01)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Actually, dulac89 is one of the board docs. *
by LocalSubAlum  (2013-01-02 17:33:15)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I think you're assuming a lot of group altruism in this post
by DakotaDomer  (2013-01-02 12:31:42)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

If tamiflu is even slightly, marginally better for a patient than not taking it...they're going to take it.

The prospect of the viruses mutating and making it overall worse for our entire population isn't going to stop someone on an individual level.

Really great education post though...I just think it's a lost cause to try and convince people not to take drugs because 2 years down the road we'll all be better off if we limit supply now. You won't be able to change Tamiflu use on the demand side in this manner...there'd have to be a large change on the supply side to control this.


The "Screw everyone else, I'm getting mine" attitude does
by Wooderson  (2013-01-02 13:23:03)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

seem to be quite prevalent.


Unfortunately, yes. Anyone have a bad MRSA abscess?
by dulac89  (2013-01-03 19:39:08)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It sucked didn't it? That's the minor leagues of resistant bugs out there. This is the anti-vaccine motto...people choose to not vaccinate and generally get away with it due to herd immunity. But enough people don't vaccinate, herd immunity rapidly begins to diminish.


excellent, thank you for posting this. *
by HoltzBeWithUs  (2013-01-02 12:14:33)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


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