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Flu outbreak prompts search for medicine

Flu outbreak prompts search for medicine. // WSBT 22

This year's flu outbreak is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent history.

Widespread flu activity has been reported in 46 states, including Indiana and Michigan.

There's a shortage of flu medication.

The CDC says there's a shortage of some flu medications like Tamiflu around the country.

But the South Bend Clinic Pharmacy is not having any supply issues right now.

It is seeing a definite increase in demand.

Over the past two to three weeks, the number of influenza cases coming into the South Bend Clinic's Immediate Care Center has increased dramatically.

"The biggest difference between influenza and a cold is that influenza is going to hit you like a truck. Almost everyone I have seen says something to that effect," said Dr. Brian Huber, South bend Clinic Immediate Care Center director.

Antiviral medication like Tamiflu is used to treat the flu and because of the recent spike, the South Bend Clinic Pharmacy has had to order it on a daily basis.

"Other pharmacies usually get a shipment once or twice a week. They can get it from other suppliers but it’s not always a guarantee that they're going to have it in stock," said Elizabeth Gerald, pharmacy manager South Bend Clinic Pharmacy.

Doctors says the earlier you can get in to see them the more effective medicine will be, but be warned it won't cure you overnight.

"You're still going to feel sick unfortunately, all it's going to do is help get rid of some of that virus that's going around in your system," said Gerald.

Flu season comes every year, whether we want it to or not so what makes this flu outbreak different than others in the past?

Doctors says the flu shot hasn't been effective against this strain of the virus.

"if we can get enough people to get the flu shot we can stop it from spreading very wide and the problem this year is it's not working. The people that got the flu shot are no more protected it seems than the general populations that didn't get it," said Huber.

Twice a year, the World Health Organization provides recommendations on the composition of the flu vaccine.

Out of hundreds of virus strains, four are selected for the vaccine.

Ultimately it's the Food and Drug Administration that makes the final decision.

Some doctors say this year, it chose wrong.

If you are experiencing high fever, chills, muscle aches and a cough then you should see a doctor right away.

Doctors says prevention with Tamiflu is not recommended.

The flu is spread through the air so the best way to prevent the spread is to quarantine those who are sick and don't forget to wash your hands often.

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