(RxWiki News) Flu season is here to stay for the next few months. Here's how to protect you and your family.
Wihth every flu season, it seems various companies have shown up online selling over-the-counter (OTC) products that claim to treat, prevent or even cure the flu.
In the past, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent warning letters to companies who are in violation.
This season is no different. We can expect some fraud products to surface on the internet.
Look for OTC products that claim to:
- Reduce severity and length of the flu
- Boost your immunity naturally without a flu shot
- Be an alternative to the flu vaccine that is safe and effective
- Prevent catching the flu
- Be a faster recovery and effective treatment for the flu
- Support your body's natural immune defenses to fight off the flu
Currently, there are no legally marketed OTC drugs to prevent or cure the flu.
There are, however, medications called antivirals that help relieve symptoms associated with the flu. However, these antivirals are not sold OTC. Instead, they require a prescription from a healthcare provider.
Some of these antivirals are even approved to prevent the flu if you are exposed to the flu virus.
Also, some approved OTC drugs can help manage flu symptoms like fever, body aches and congestion, among other flu symptoms.
The FDA continues to recommend everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year.
Getting a flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu and related complications.
According to the FDA, the next time you are browsing the internet, one of the best ways to protect yourself from these products is to ask yourself the following:
- Whether the claim sounds "too good to be true"
- Whether the claim contradicts what you’ve heard from reputable sources
These products may even be dangerous because they have not been studied or approved for safety and effectiveness. Furthermore, relying on these products may delay or prevent you from getting the appropriate medical care.
Look for these claims to better identify scam products:
- “Miracle cures” that claim a scientific breakthrough or contain a secret ingredient are likely a scam.
- An "all natural” treatment or cure. This language is included on purpose to grab your attention and suggest it is a safer alternative than what is the standard treatment. But don't be fooled. All natural doesn't necessarily mean it is safer.
Never take a new supplement or medication without speaking to your healthcare provider about it first.
If you have flu-like symptoms or are at high risk of serious flu complications, seek medical attention from a health care provider.