(GoHealthier.com) – Frigid temperatures, foul weather, and being cooped up indoors tend to mean one thing: flu season is back. And this year, so many of us are extra-leery of catching the flu while COVID-19 is still rampant. Unfortunately, scammers and hucksters bank on these fears by promoting fraudulent flu products. Don’t be taken in! Read on to find out how to avoid products making false promises.
Unscrupulous people seek to make a quick buck during flu season, which peaks December through February, by preying on our fears over the flu every year. This year, COVID has compounded our concerns. We can prepare by knowing typical false claims, learning how to research products and taking steps to protect ourselves against the flu. Find out more in the article below.
Learn What the FDA and CDC Say.
OTC Meds: What They Can and Can’t Do
Currently, there are no over-the-counter (OTC) medications, products, or devices that have been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent, treat, or cure the flu. Unfortunately, that has not stopped a slew of companies from trying to hawk their wares with false claims.
However, several companies do produce products that legitimately claim to treat flu symptoms, including fever, headache, congestion, sore throat, muscle aches, runny nose. Some also purport to treat other typical flu symptoms instead. The FDA has evaluated and approved these products to treat the specified symptoms.
It’s important to note that treating symptoms, while providing some relief, doesn’t treat the underlying cause — and that’s where the real difference is. Symptom relief won’t shorten the duration of the flu or significantly reduce the severity. Severe cases of the flu require hospitalization, and in some cases, can even be deadly.
By contacting a healthcare provider at the onset of symptoms, it may be possible to treat the flu with a prescription antiviral. But time is of the essence; most antivirals are only effective within the first 48 hours or so. This is before the virus has a chance to grow exponentially inside the body.
Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has research confirming that, even after the magical timeframe, antivirals effectively reduce the duration and severity of illness. Their study specifically targeted children with an average age of five years old.
If individuals or companies make claims about their products that seem too good to be true, chances are they aren’t. Examples of suspect claims include products that will:
- Reduce the duration or severity of the flu or other viral infections.
- Boost immunity naturally.
- Act as an effective alternative to flu vaccines.
- Prevent flu or viral infections.
- Treat flu or viral infections.
- Speed recovery from flu or viral infections.
- Support the body’s natural immune defenses against the flu or viral infections.
If in doubt, always research claims and products through the FDA website. Or, consult a healthcare provider (including a pharmacist) to investigate claims.
There are a number of actions we take to reduce our risk of contracting the flu. These include:
- Washing hands regularly with soap and water (or using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available).
- Maintaining social distance from individuals outside your immediate household.
- Wearing an effective face mask in public spaces, especially indoors.
We’ve had more than our fair share of health challenges this year. Why let false claims put us in danger? We’re in this together, so let’s each do our parts to research fantastic assertions. The goal is to be safe and proactively healthy in the new year!
~Here’s to a Healthier Life!
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