Health officials say shortage of flu treatment Tamiflu is possible

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PITTSBURGH - As more people across the country continue coming down with flu-like symptoms, many fear a shortage of the popular treatment Tamilfu.

Many people came down with the flu over holiday break, and now some could be bringing it to work.

“Influenza is a high fever, aching in every bone in your body and a little bit of cough. It really can knock you off your feet for four or five days,” Dr. Melody Mendiola said.

Mendiola said patients are asking for prescriptions for Tamiflu to shorten their illness.

“It would probably shorten it anywhere from one to three days,” Mendiola said.

According to Mendiola, Tamiflu needs to be taken as soon as symptoms start.

“Within 24 or 48 hours for sure. It really doesn’t do much of anything after 48 hours,” Mendiola said.

She warned that even if you’re able to get to a clinic within a day of the symptoms coming on, you still may not be given a prescription.

“We want to try to make sure that we save it so we have enough supplies and for the people that are most at risk. Elderly people, people with chronic health conditions and the people that are most at risk for being hospitalized,” Mendiola said.

Officials said young, usually healthy people will likely be told to go home and rest.

Health officials urge anyone with flu symptoms to stay at home until they’re well.

Meanwhile, influenza is widespread in two-thirds of the country, and Boston's mayor has declared a public health emergency because of the increase in flu cases they’re experiencing.

The Pennsylvania Health Department said 22 people in the state have died so far this flu season from the flu.

Over the past week, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties have seen the biggest spike in the number of cases, followed by Butler and Washington counties, the department said.

According to the health department, more than 11,000 cases of the flu have been confirmed statewide.