Flu Shot Alternatives

Texas doctors say there are several options for people who want to prevent the flu this year, even though vaccines are scarce. The flu vaccine nasal spray called flu mist is readily available and can be given to anyone between 5 to 45 years of age and healthy. Antiviral drugs can also be used by healthy people to prevent the flu according to Dr. Ed Dominguez.

"The drugs are all shown to be effective if started within 24 hours of symptoms and they are all given for 5 days," say Dr. Ed.

The drugs are usually given as soon as symptoms start, but can be used as a preventive tool in the event of a flu outbreak.

"The oldest drug is called amantadine. It is a very effective one, but it has the most side effects. Then there is a little bit newer drug called rimantadine. It is used quite a bit and the two newest are tamflu and relenza," says Dr. Ed.

The antiviral drugs can't always be used by seniors though.

'It turns out drugs like rimantadine have many more side effects in our senior patients, mainly neurological, like giving them tremors or making them dizzy," says Dr. Ed.

If healthy patients chose these options instead of the shot, there may be enough flu shots for the people who need them most.