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Some trying cheaper flu remedies than Tamiflu

Posted at 5:32 AM, Feb 16, 2018

Many across the country have felt the effects of the flu this season. One way people are fighting it is with Tamiflu -- but some are refusing it because of the cost. 

The flu has been so bad this season, Tamiflu fills and refills are five times what they were last year. That's according to consumer website GOODRX.

That site has tracked Tamiflu since last year. The reason the medicine is so popular is because it can lessen the symptoms of flu and shorten it by days if taken early. 

But it doesn't come cheap. Tamiflu typically costs $175. Coupons on GOODRX can bring it down to $145.

The generic brand is even cheaper and most experts agree, is as effective. A generic flu medicine with a GOODRX coupon could drop the cost to roughly $50 or $60. 

These prescriptions and fills could mean the difference between life and death. 

Arizonans are feeling some of the worst effects of the flu. Thomas Goetz from GOODRX says, "Arizona turns out to be one of the hardest hit. And prescriptions there are tracking 14 times higher than last year."

Natural remedies like vitamins are flying off shelves. Dr. Suneil Jain with Rejuvena Health and Aesthetics in Arizona says IV therapy is gaining in popularity.

"We've seen really good success, track record over the last 12-13 years using our Ozone UltraViolet Light Vitamin C protocol for the flu and that's a treatment that's not heard of or thought of conventionally, but is very very effective," Jain said. 

There are currently three different strains of the flu going around. Influenza A is up 86 percent in Arizona. Now Influenza B is on the rise. 

Doctors say along with common advice like washing hands and cleaning surfaces, patients should still get flu shots because the season will continue to be severe.