Tamiflu Overview

Photo courtesy Roche

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 36,000 people die from the flu each year. [ref]. A new threat is the avian, or bird flu. The latest outbreak has infected more than 140 people in Asia and Europe. In February 2006, it migrated into Africa. [ref]. Health experts fear that it could eventually mutate into a form that could pass from person to person and set off a worldwide pandemic.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for either the flu or bird flu. A virus causes the flu, and antibiotics can only kill bacteria. There is a vaccine for the A and B strains of the human flu, but even that isn't a guarantee: sometimes the scientists who develop it get the strain wrong for a particular flu season. The current vaccine doesn't work against bird flu strains.

­ There are, however, a few antiviral prescription drugs that can lessen the severity and cut the duration of the flu as well as prevent infection if you've been exposed. Tamiflu is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs. In this article, we'll discuss how Tamiflu works, how you take it and whether it can really protect you from bird flu.