Anti-Viral Drugs Are No Substitute for Flu Shot - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/07/04 - East Texas

Anti-Viral Drugs Are No Substitute for Flu Shot

People across the country are scrambling to get their flu shots, and some are looking for alternatives.

Doctors expect the nation's low vaccine supply to prevent thousands of Texans from getting the shot this year. Anti-viral drugs can reduce symptoms, but they're not as effective as a flu shot. You'd have to take them for several months to get the same effect as the vaccine.

Dr. Kyle Krohn says, "If someone in your family has gotten the flu and you haven't gotten sick, you can take these drugs for a week or two and it can keep you from getting the flu. To try to take it for a five-month period of time is just going to be too expensive."

Flu prevention drugs are only effective if you've already been exposed to the virus.

So, who should get a flu shot? The CDC says people more than 50 years old are good candidates; also, people with chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma. Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should also get a flu shot, and women who will be more than three months pregnant during the flu season.

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