I’ve always been a bit interested in health, and increasingly so recently with noticing how the paleo diet has affected my lifestyle positively (aside from that weight gain!). One of my major annoyances is colds and flu. When I lived in London, taking public transport was a nightmare because it meant being crammed into tiny spaces filled with bacteria-ridden people. I was forever washing my hands and eating oranges to try to stave off colds.
I heard on the news today though about Tamiflu and how it’s apparently not even any more effective than paracetamol for treating the symptoms, preventing and curing flu. I was really surprised because the government has spent more than £473 million on stockpiling Tamiflu in case of global pandemics.
The experts are saying that it definitely does nothing to prevent the spread of flu or reduce any of the complications that can arise from it, and it only has a small impact on the symptoms.
I was actually prescribed Tamiflu a few years ago when I had swine flu, and to be honest, I didn’t really think it did much then because I still felt absolutely awful. Apparently the most it does is reduce the persistence of flu symptoms by about two thirds of a day, from 7 days down to 6.3 in adults, but a simple paracetamol or cold and flu medication off the supermarket shelves could do the same thing.
In fact it’s claimed that the side effects of the drug outweigh the positive impact it has. It has been known to cause nausea, headaches, kidney problems, hyperglycaemia and psychiatric events.
I’m pretty shocked that it’s been around for so long and nobody’s realised how little effect it has on flu symptoms. In future I’m going to be thinking more carefully about what medication I take and doing a bit more research into it – you don’t want to be pumping your body full of chemicals that aren’t even having much of an effect.
Image courtesy of mcfarlandmo.