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Christina Wedberg

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About Author — Christina has been a writer since 2010 and has an M.F.A. from The New School for Social Research. Christina specializes in writing about health issues and education.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog.

How Does Tamiflu Work?

Tamiflu is an antiviral medication that is used for treatment of the flu. It helps minimize the effects of different types of flu virus strains. It works by inhibiting the growth of proteins called neuraminidase that live on the cells of the flu virus.

The neuraminidase try to destroy your normal healthy cells by eating away at the membrane of each healthy cell. After a certain number of your healthy cells have been affected, you start to suffer from symptoms of the flu such as body aches, chills, fever, headache, and cough.

Tamiflu binds itself to the neuraminidase on the surface of the virus particle. This keeps the neuraminidase from escaping the cell it has just infected and invading other healthy cells. So the influenza virus is then restricted and this helps slow down the progression of your flu symptoms. That way your immune system has a better chance of fighting your flu.

However, Tamiflu can only inhibit the virus, it can’t stop it altogether. That’s why it is important to take Tamiflu with 24-48 hours of getting symptoms of the flu. Otherwise, Tamiflu and other antiviral medications cannot effectively fight the influenza virus.

When Do You Use Tamiflu?

The best protection from getting the flu is to get the flu vaccine every season. Other ways of protecting yourself from getting the flu include washing your hands frequently and avoiding contact with anyone who is sick such as family or coworkers.

However, if you feel that you are getting the flu, antiviral prescription medications such as Tamiflu may slow down the progression of your symptoms or even prevent you from getting the flu if taken after being exposed to someone who is sick. Medications like Tamiflu may help you to recover from the influenza virus for up to 1-2 days earlier than if you didn’t take the medication.

Tamiflu should be taken within two days of the start of symptoms of the flu such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Does Tamiflu Work on Children?

Tamiflu has been approved for use in treating children with the flu as young as two weeks old. As a preventative medication, it has been approved for treating children as young as one year old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using antiviral drugs as early as possible when treating confirmed cases of influenza that have severe symptoms or who are at high risk of complications from the flu such children who have asthma, lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, or who are immunosuppressed.

Where Can You Get Tamiflu?

Tamiflu is available by getting a prescription from your doctor. If you prefer to stay home and rest, rather than trying to get an appointment at a doctor’s office, you might consider making an appointment with an online telehealth service professional like

Most online doctor visits follow a simple process that starts with making an appointment. This may also include registering or starting an account. At your doctor’s appointment, your doctor will contact you for a video chat or a phone call. Your doctor will ask you several questions that may include the nature of your symptoms and how long you have been experiencing them.

At the end of your consultation, your online doctor will give you a diagnosis and offer you a treatment plan which will include any prescription medications if necessary. Your doctor will send your prescription electronically to the pharmacy of your choice and you can pick up your prescription.

Think you may be experiencing symptoms of the onset of the flu? Book an appointment with a PlushCare physician to get a tamiflu prescription as soon as possible.


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