The Flu Contingency


The family, not miserable at all.

The family, not miserable at all.

This content is sponsored by Genentech.  The experiences described and opinions expressed are mine.

 

When it comes to health, my family and I have been pretty lucky. My kids rarely get sick, and aside from a seemingly never-ending string of martial arts related broken bones, muscle tears, and other injuries, I rarely see a doctor. But all that health luck comes at a price: When we do get sick—particularly with the flu—we tend to go down hard. And we tend to go down at pretty much the same time.

The exhaustion, aches, fever, and chills—which seem to come out of nowhere—are hard on everyone, especially the kids. But as a single parent, trying to care for a sick child while suffering from those same annoying symptoms makes an already difficult job even worse.

At the rodeo -- always in the winter

At the rodeo — always in the winter

Like most people, we hate it when the flu makes us miss family events—many of which are cleverly planned to coincide with flu season.

Naturally, I insist that we do everything we can to minimize our risk: we cover our mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, we wash our hands with soap and warm water (or use hand sanitizer), stay away from sick people, and, just to be sure, we get a flu vaccination every year.

 

another view of the familyBut, as we all know, these measures may not always work. So we need a backup. I talked this over with my primary care doc, who told me that the next time I see (or experience) flu symptoms, I should email him right away and he’ll call in a prescription for Tamiflu® (oseltamivir phosphate) capsules. So what is Tamiflu? Excellent question. According to the manufacturer, it’s “an antiviral medicine that attacks the flu virus at its source and helps stop the flu from spreading in your body.” Sounds good, but my instinctive reaction is, “show me the data.” Well, it turns out that there’s actual research to back up these claims: Studies have found that compared to people who didn’t take Tamiflu within 48 hours of their first symptoms, the drug helped shorten the time adults were sick by 30% (that’s 1.3 days) and 26% for kids aged 12 months to 12 years (1.5 days, if you’re counting)[1].

Another really interesting thing about Tamiflu is that, although it’s not a substitute for the flu vaccine, if one person is sick with the flu, others in the family (whether they’ve got symptoms or not) may be able to get their own prescription, which may help prevent them from coming down with the flu at all.

A and Z, healthy as can be

A and Z, healthy as can be

I wish you a very healthy winter. But just in case, you may want to ask your doctor about Tamiflu. And if, by some chance, you (or a loved one) come down with the flu, this coupon may help you save money as well as help your symptoms.

If you have questions about your symptoms or simply want to see if the flu is prevalent in your area – this handy flu tracker will give you the information you need.

 

Genentech is not responsible for content on this website outside of this individual post.

____________________________________________________________

Indications

Tamiflu is a prescription medicine used to treat the flu (influenza) in people 2 weeks of age and older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 2 days. Tamiflu can also reduce the chance of getting the flu in people 1 year and older.

Tamiflu does not prevent bacterial infections that may happen with the flu.

Tamiflu is not a substitute for an annual flu vaccination.

Do not take Tamiflu if you are allergic to oseltamivir phosphate or any of the ingredients in Tamiflu.

Important Safety Information

  • If you have an allergic reaction or a severe rash with Tamiflu, stop taking it, and contact your doctor right away. This may be very serious.
  • People with the flu, particularly children and adolescents, may be at an increased risk of seizure, confusion, or abnormal behavior early during their illness.
  • Let your doctor know if you are pregnant, nursing, have heart problems, breathing problems, a weakened immune system (immunocompromised), kidney problems or other medical conditions as Tamiflu may not be right for you.
  • Also tell your doctor about any medications you are taking or if you’ve received a nasal-spray flu vaccine in the past two weeks.
  • The most common side effects are mild to moderate nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. Please see the Tamiflu full Prescription Information for complete important safety information.

You are encouraged to report side effects to Genentech by calling 1-888-835-2555 or to the FDA by visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch or calling 1-800-FDA-1088

 

References

  1. Tamiflu®(oseltamivir phosphate) Prescribing Information. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech USA, Inc.; January, 2013.

What Men Should Know & Do About the Flu

Spring is on the horizon, and you may be thinking that flu season is a thing of the past. But, the truth is flu viruses can circulate as late as May. As of February 21, CDC data shows flu activity remains elevated nationally but is decreasing. Young and middle-aged adults, including those with chronic conditions and those who are otherwise healthy, have been among the hardest hit by flu this season. However, there is good news to share about the flu vaccine this season – it is providing solid protection to people of all ages. In fact, new information released on February 20 finds that the flu vaccine reduced a vaccinated person’s risk of having to go to the doctor for flu illness by about 61% across all ages. CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccination. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet this flu season, CDC urges you to do so now.

[Read more…]

On the Fence about Whether Your Kids Should Have Flu Shots? Just Do It—Now

flu shotBetween August 1, 2004 and May 5, 2012, 829 children in the US died from the flu, according to a new study by researchers at the CDC. And a third of those kids died within three days after symptoms first appeared. Unfortunately, by then it’s often too late. The solution? Make sure your kids get a flu shot. Not getting one is putting their lives at risk.
[Read more…]