Widespread flu activity causes Tamiflu shortage: Are we affected locally?

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CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – As the number of flu cases continues to rise, so does the demand for Tamiflu, an antiviral medication prescribed to shorten the lifespan of the flu’s symptoms and to prevent it from spreading.

Medical experts say that’s because it’s easier to treat symptoms with the medication, which comes in a pill form and can be given to anyone.

“With children or pregnant woman, or people who are older than 65 or who really clinically look really sick, or they have other underlying medical conditions that can put on complications, they need Tamiflu,” said Supreet Kaur Dhaliwal, M.D. from Steward Urgent Care of Austintown.

If Tamiflu is not available at your local pharmacy, they can always work with other pharmacies in the area or find other ways to treat your symptoms, such as over-the-counter medicines.

While they haven’t experienced any shortages of Tamiflu at the CVS Pharmacy in Canfield, it is still a concern due to the increased number of flu patients they are seeing.

“It is always possible for us to run out of Tamiflu, but we have the ability to compound liquid medications for the children and then we request more and are usually replenished with it in 1-2 days,” said Julia Newman, a nurse practitioner at the CVS MinuteClinic.

Actual flu shots are also in high demand — doctor’s offices are running out and referring patients to local pharmacies.

However, getting a flu shot is not a guarantee you won’t get sick.

“This year’s flu vaccine was not as effective as we originally hoped. However, the CDC does recommend that you still receive your flu vaccine because you still get cross coverage for other strains,” Newman said.

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