Google it? Photo by Carla Alves.

You cough. You sniffle. You think you might feel a fever coming on. It’s a bad flu year—every year seems to be a bad flu year—and so you fear the worst. But is it really the flu?

People who are elderly, pregnant, or have other reason to be more at risk should seek care right away. If your doctor can get you a dose of an antiviral like Tamiflu within the first 48 hours, your illness might end up being a little shorter or a little less severe. Tamiflu doesn’t actually work very well, so the benefit is small, but it may be able to keep a bad case of flu from becoming life-threatening.

Multiple versions of the influenza virus exist, and some are more popular than others each season. This year’s most common flu virus is an H3N2 type, which wasn’t part of the mix in recent years. That means children are especially at risk: their immune systems have never seen this type of virus, while adults have.

My kids’ preschool recently wrote to parents that, because of this, doctors in our area recommend that we should seek care for young children right away in case they need Tamiflu. Except they made a mistake in the email, and said the crucial medicine was Theraflu. Please be advised: Theraflu is an over-the-counter cough medicine, and it is 아니 a substitute for getting medical care for a sick kid.

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