How to stay healthy this season — without falling for this phony flu-fighter
This winter will be remembered as a brutal flu season. And thanks to a nasty little mutation of the H3N2 virus, for the second year in a row, the flu shot is a major dud.
So with a powerful flu running full tilt against a weak vaccine, that can only mean one thing…
Time to turn up the Tamiflu propaganda!
Tamiflu is the anti-viral prescription medication that’s now in short supply because doctors have been selling it faster than funnel cakes at a county fair.
But that short supply may be a blessing in disguise. Because if you happen to come down with the flu and take Tamiflu, you’re even MORE likely to experience nausea and vomiting on top of the wretched flu symptoms you already have.
For those who do respond to Tamiflu, the duration of the flu might be reduced by a few hours. But then again — it’s hard to say how effective it really was when you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus.
This past November I told you how the World Health Organization (WHO) had downgraded it’s classification of Tamiflu as a “core” drug to a “complementary” drug. In other words, WHO officials have seen the evidence showing just how ineffective it is — and they’ve started backing away.
And yet, a few days ago, MedPage Today posted a video in which researcher Arnold Monto, M.D., mentions Tamiflu five times in just under 3 minutes, saying, “What we really need to remember is that we should be using Tamiflu.”
Three years ago, Monto and some of his colleagues published a meta-analysis of Tamiflu studies in The Lancet. Their report glowed with perceived benefits of the drug. But that glow lost a lot of luster when The Lancet published several letters about the study in subsequent issues.
The letters were written by researchers who ticked off a long list of problems they found with Monto’s research.
They also pointed out that Monto and his colleagues had originally been identified as independent, when, in fact, they all had financial ties to Genentech (the maker of Tamiflu) or a patent-holder of the drug.
Previously, the Cochrane Collaboration (a true independent group that does nothing but review research) had reported that Tamiflu might reduce flu symptoms — by less than one day. More importantly, they noted a few major things the drug has NOT been proven to do:
- Reduce severity of symptoms
- Prevent pneumonia
- Protect others from contracting your flu virus
And yet, here and there in articles and news stories you’ll often see claims that Tamiflu does deliver these benefits. Once misconceptions like that get out to the public, it’s almost impossible to rein them in.
And the kicker? The Cochrane review came up with two additional side effects to watch for: psychiatric effects and kidney problems.
As I discussed back in November, the best way to fight off the flu is to support your immune system so it’s up to the task when a flu bug invades. It’s a familiar drill:
- Wash your hands often and keep them away from your face
- Get plenty of sleep (preferably 7 – 9 hours)
- Eat nutritious whole foods
- Take vitamin D (many of our OmniVista Health gurus recommend 10,000 IU daily)
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid sugar, smoking, and excessive drinking of alcohol
And if you do come down with the flu, take the age-old advice seriously: Drink plenty of fluids. Fever and other rotten flu symptoms can lead to dangerous dehydration. So keep the water coming — and plenty of it.
This Flu Season, Don’t Forget About Tamiflu
January 12, 2018
Oseltamivir for influenza
January 9, 2016
Regulatory information on trials of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) for influenza in adults and children
Acute Respiratory Infections Group
April 10, 2014