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Get your flu shot if you can, but there are effective drugs if you get sick, doctors say

Even though we’re almost to the end of January, it’s still a good time to get your flu shot.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over six months of age get vaccinated, at least annually,” said Dr. Craig Webb with MedExpress. “There are some very rare exceptions. The flu vaccine is important for children, seniors, individuals with compromised immune systems and pregnant women.”

The vaccine seems to be working for those who have received it already.

“We actually have a pretty good match for the flu this season,” said Dr. Webb. “Typically, the vaccine protects against two or three types of influenzas.”

However, if you feel like you already have the flu, there are other options for treatment.

“There are two classes of drugs,” said Dr. Michael Ison from Northwestern University. “The neuraminidase inhibitors like Tamiflu are very effective in treating influenza. They prevent the virus from being released from cells after they are infected. There’s a new drug this year, Xofluza, which actually works by preventing new viruses from being produced once a cell becomes infected with flu.”

Both of those type of drugs can limit the amount of time that you are sick depending on how fast you can get access to them. Typically, either will reduce the duration of illness if you get them in the first two days of being sick. They typically reduce the duration of the illness by a day.


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