Tamiflu is a prescription medicine used to treat the flu (influenza) in people 2 weeks of age and older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 2 days. Tamiflu can also reduce the chance of getting the flu in people 1 year and older. Tamiflu is not a substitute for an annual flu vaccination.”

Our 7-year old picked up something at school recently.  He was pretty sick two weeks ago and missed both Friday and Monday at school.  At the worst, he had nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and felt lousy.  Minor symptoms persisted a couple days longer.  Then our older kids got it.  They also missed a 2-3 days of school last week and reported aches, pains and chills as well and didn’t fully recover for about 5 days.  Last Wednesday, my wife got hit pretty bad with “flu-like symptoms”, including fatigue that kept her in bed most of the day.

That morning, I ventured out to stock up on additional supplies.  Gatorade, ginger ale, Tylenol, soup, bread, etc.  While I was driving to the store, I happened to talk to Kecia and she mentioned I should inquire about Tamiflu, as it is apparently prescribed as a preventative.  Great idea!

So, I called my doctor’s office and talked to a nurse.  I stated I was wondering if it was still early enough for my wife to have Tamiflu or if it might be given as a preventative for me, as I was the only one yet to get it.  Apparently, even though they readily give antibiotics if you complain of a sneeze, doctors are not as lenient with Tamiflu.

The nurse grilled me about symptoms and other details, apparently skeptical that our family even had the flu.  Maybe they didn’t, though absent a blood culture, I’m not sure how they would completely rule it out.  She sounded doubtful, but said she would call be back.  I lingered in the store, hoping that the pharmacy could fill it while I was there.

A few hours later, back at home, she returned the call.  She was unconvinced and asked more about my wife’s symptoms.  So, I roused her from her death-like state and forced her to croak at the nurse about her condition.  The nurse said she doubted any pharmacy had any, since the flu season was over, but said she would talk to the doctor again and call back (my wife uses another physician at the same practice).

The call never came.  But on Friday, two days later, I got a call from the grocery store pharmacy that the prescription was ready.  Doh!  By that time it was too late for my wife, so I began taking it as a preventative.  It may have been too late for prevention, also, as I began to have symptoms just hours later.  Apparently, Tamiflu itself can cause similar side effects, so that’s a possibility, too.  Also, for any type of stomach flu or gastroenteritis, Tamiflu is not likely to be effective at all:-(

I had mild symptoms for about an hour or so.  A week has now passed and since then, nothing at all.  I figure that I must have been exposed in that time, but it’s now been two weeks since my youngest son first started exhibiting serious symptoms.  Perhaps it worked as advertised?

In any case, it made me wonder.  Here we have this drug that may help prevent or lessen the symptoms of the flu if taken soon enough.  Great.  But, it has to be taken just before or very early after you show the first symptoms.  Given that, just how likely is it that your doctor will actually prescribe it for you in time for it to be of any use?  With the way a lot of physician’s offices work these days, I’m thinking not very often!

Have any of you taken Tamiflu?  Do you think it helped?  How difficult was it to obtain?