Mid-South doctor urges research before beginning flu medication

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health said the state’s 10th person has died from the flu this flu season.

Doctors said different types of medications have been flying off the shelves as treatment for the illness. But a Mid-South doctor said people need to be mindful when choosing their medicine.

Flu season is on the rise across the United States. The CDC said there have been at least 19 million reported flu illnesses and nearly 10,000 deaths.

The Tennessee state Department of Health said so far there have been 10 pediatric flu deaths this season.

Dr. Dale Criner, medical director of the emergency department at St. Francis Hospital in Bartlett, said on average he sees 10 to 15 flu cases per day.

“It’s certainly rampant right now, as we’ve seen with these school closures in the last couple of weeks,” Criner said.

Pearlier Mosby said she likes to take a natural approach to flu recovery.

“I use castor oil,” she said. “Flu is something that really has to wear off of you. You really have to drink plenty fluids for it to wear off to break that fever.”

Criner said while the natural way may be the best option for some patients, medications such as Tamiflu and Xofluza have become popular items. But he said he encourages patients to do more research before purchasing these medications.

“If you show up three days after you’ve already started having symptoms, it’s not going to do any good for you,” Criner said. “You’re going to have to run the full course.”

Criner said Tamiflu is FDA-approved to help prevent the flu and can be used for treatment, as long as a person uses it within 24 hours of showing symptoms.

“It’s not going to cure the flu,” Criner said. “You’re still going to be sick, and you still need to stay away from other folks. You still need to stay at home.”

He said Xofluza is a one-time treatment but is also only beneficial when used within 24 hours.

Criner said the best treatment is rest, fluids and listening to your doctor.

The state health department wants to remind everyone to continue practicing good hygiene methods such as washing your hands, covering your mouth when coughing and just staying home when falling ill.

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