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Tamiflu concerns in North Alabama

Tamiflu is hard to find in Huntsville, and it may not be the best option for kids with the flu.

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 6:29 PM
Updated: Mar 10, 2020 3:43 PM

Flu season is still rearing it's ugly head across the nation, and the one drug that can shorten your flu sentence, Tamiflu, is still flying off the shelves.


Dr. Phillip Rigsby owns two pharmacies in Huntsville, and he told WAAY 31 the demand for the popular prescription is particularly high this flu season.

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"Some of the wholesalers don't have it, and so it's been a little difficult to locate," Dr. Rigsby said.

Thankfully, Georgia Grochowalski was able to get her hands on a box.

"I started having sore throat, went to the doctor, and next thing I'm on the Tamiflu. A fews days later I'm feeling much better," Grochowalski said.

According to Dr. Rigsby, Tamiflu is only good for patients who have been experiencing flu-like symptoms for no more than 48 hours.

After that, it's no good.

The symptoms have progressed too far, and Tamiflu can't slow them down.

He told WAAY 31 that at that point all you can do is ride it out.

That's exactly what happened to Grochowalski's family.

"They had it really bad. My 14 year old granddaughter didn't get it quite as bad which was a good thing, but my five year old, her sister, got it pretty tough along with her dad and mom."

Even if Grochowalski's granddaughters had been prescribed Tamiflu sooner, it's possible they could have been out of luck thanks to this season's high demand.

"Right now the Tamiflu suspension, that is used for the pediatric population, is on a pretty big back order," Dr. Rigsby said.

WAAY 31 also reached out to local pediatric nurse practitioner Kristina Morris who said that even if the Tamiflu suspension was available, the practice she works at typically does not prescribe it.

"For your healthy, average child, Tamiflu isn't going to do much for you," Morris said.

Morris told WAAY 31 that if a healthy child, without chronic illnesses like asthma or diabetes, does take Tamiflu, it could take things from bad to worse.

"It can give you more serious side effects like nausea, vomiting, G-I upset, some people even report hallucinations," Morris said.

However, Morris did offer an alternative.

"Making sure they're staying hydrated, treating their fevers with fever reducers, and just keeping them comfortable," Morris said.

Morris also told WAAY 31 that she's seen an increase in entire families getting the flu this season.

She recommends washing your hands and getting plenty of rest in order to avoid the virus.

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