Flu virus going around WNY, but there's a shortage of Tamiflu

Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 24, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-19 17:59:22-05

Many Western New Yorkers are spending the holidays in bed, battling the flu.

The most recent strain of the flu, doctors say is H3n2, and includes symptoms such as weakness, fever and a cough.

"We've seen an increase in the amount of emergency room visits here in Western New York," said Dennis Galluzzo, Executive Director Pharmacists Association of Western New York.

For the flu, there's really no relief, other than physician prescribed Tamiflu. But many drug chain retailers have a shortage of the drug right now, according to doctors.

"It's a localized problem," said Galluzzo.

Galluzzo says most independently owned pharmacy's have decent stock, and doctors are being told to give patients Tamiflu as soon as they feel there may be a problem.

"It's an anti-viral agent, which will get in and help to weaken the virus and help shorten the duration of time it's in your system," says Bradley Arthur of Black Rock Pharmacy.

Pharmacists say many people like to self-diagnose and stock up on over the counter medicine, but getting a flu shot is still the best line of defense.

"There's not a person in the United States that should not get a flu shot," Galluzzo said.

"It's starting to spread, and in the last couple weeks, we've had a lot of people coming in and asking for flu shots," Arthur said.