If it seems like you and everyone around you is coughing and sneezing, you aren't alone. But as you look for relief, beware of the medicine you take.
The FDA is putting out a warning about drugs that claim to cure the flu but may do no such thing.
"So-called 'alternatives' to the flu vaccine are big with scammers," FDA National Health Fraud Coordinator Gary Goody said.
The FDA says to take a look at any of these products before you buy and watch out for these red flag claims:
-Boost your immunity without a flu shot.
-Be an alternative to the flu vaccine.
-Prevent catching the flu.
-Make you recover faster from the flu.
-Reduce the severity or length of the flu.
The FDA has sent warning letters to nine companies with medicines that make these claims, including the maker of the "GermBullet," a nasal inhaler. That firm is required to remove labeling and advertising that violates federal law.
If you do get the flu, there are legal anti-viral treatments available. There are only two FDA-approved drugs on the market: Tamiflu and Relenza. No generic drug has been approved.
Consumers can also legally buy over the counter medicine to reduce fever, muscle aches, congestion and other symptoms.
The biggest issue with unapproved products is that you really don't know what you're buying. The product could be contaminated, have the incorrect active ingredient or no active ingredient at all.
The FDA says the public should also steer clear of over the counter products found online and in stores that claim to prevent or cure the flu.
For more information, please visit fda.gov.
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