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Flu Shots and Antiviral Flu Drugs

Getting a flu shot will help you avoid the most common influenza viruses brewing in any given year, but it can't keep you from catching a cold.

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If you got your annual flu shot and still got sick, don't blame the shot. The shot only immunizes you against the three influenza viruses determined to be most potent for that season, but not against any other viruses, including the 200 or more viruses associated with upper respiratory infections and the common cold that often have symptoms that feel a lot like the flu.

Your flu shot can't save you from the common cold, and neither can any of the prescription antiviral medications used to treat influenza viruses. While antivirals such as Tamiflu and Relenza® may help reduce the duration of the influenza virus if treated within the first few days of onset, they don't work at all against the viruses known to cause a cold.

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