HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The flu is hitting Connecticut hard and earlier than usual this year. The state is now seeing shortages of the medications typically used to treat the flu.
“The number of people who are testing positive had tripled in the past two weeks, and we are probably on track to continue to quadruple in the weeks ahead,” said Yale Medicine Physician, Dr. Leslie Sude.
Tamiflu, a medicine that can help reduce flu symptoms is either sold out or in short supply at many pharmacies across the state. The Tamiflu shortage is creating problems for patients as it needs to be administered immediately, at the first sign of symptoms. There is no time to wait and track it down.
“Tamiflu needs to be prescribed by a provider and it’s best used if it’s within the first two days of the onset of symptoms,” said Dr. Sude.
Doctors are also seeing shortages of antibiotics due to the secondary infections that often follow the flu. In addition, pharmacies are also seeing shortages of acetaminophen suppositories, liquid ibuprofen and albuterol, according to the Connecticut Children’s Hospital.
“In some cases, the flu will lead to complications such as bacterial ear infection or bacterial pneumonia, and in those cases the shortages are problematic,” said Dr. Sude.
Doctors say Tamiflu does not cure the flu only lessons the symptoms and shortens the duration. So if they are out of treatments, doctors say the good old-fashioned remedies still work very well.
“Keep the fever under control, keep the aches and pains under control with fever reducers like Acetaminophen and ibuprofen, both work just fine for that, and stay hydrated with lots of fluid, I would avoid caffeine,” said Dr. Sude.
Doctors also highly recommend staying home if you have the flu, as when you have the fever you are still contagious. Doctors say if you’ve already had the flu shot and still get the flu, it will knock down the symptoms and lessen the duration.