Pharmacies run low on Tamiflu has flu season hits East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – From Knoxville to Maryville, pharmacies are running out of Tamiflu, one of the most common medications used to treat the flu.

If taken during the first 48 hours of flu symptoms, doctors say Tamiflu may shorten the length of time you have the flu.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says they’re not seeing particularly high numbers at a regional level, but Knox County Department of Health says this year’s strain of H3N2 means flu numbers could get higher.

“December through February is usually the hardest hit, so we are probably just revving up,” said Mary Ann Harrison, Registered Nurse at the Knox County Department of Health.

Jamie Price, a pharmacist in Powell says Tamiflu is flying off the shelves at Mac’s Pharmacy.

“Despite a robust supply of Tamiflu nationally, we still have shortages, kind of spot to spot coverage locally,” said Price

Price said part of the shortage is because Tamiflu isn’t just used for treatment, it’s also given to people who have a family member diagnosed with the flu.

“Where most medications you give one for one, here for one flu episode you’re giving 5 or 6 depending on the size of the families,” said Price.

WATE 6 On Your Side contacted several pharmacies like Walgreen’s and CVS throughout Knox County, and while many are out of Tamiflu, a lot of them are ordering more. Pharmacists suggest calling to check on the supply and treating your symptoms with cough medicine and Tylenol for fever.

Because the flu is highly contagious the Knox County Health Department suggests washing your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.

 

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