For the first time in nearly three decades, influenza B is the most dominant strain this season — and it's the strain most common among children.
But not all doctors agree on how to treat influenza B.
More and more pediatricians have stopped prescribing popular flu drug Tamiflu to children — despite the flu outbreak — because of concerns about serious side effects.
Channel 2 Action News′ Tom Regan talked to Dr. Denita Sells from Intown Pediatrics in Brookhaven, who said Tamiflu doesn’t seem effective in children and can often make them feel worse.
“There’s more risks than benefits, and the side effects are usually not worth it. The most common thing is vomiting,” Sells said. “It can be severe. They’re vomiting three, four, five times a day, not able to keep anything down.”
Local pediatrician quits prescribing Tamiflu to children because of serious side effects, despite flu outbreak. The story on Channel 2 Action News this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/kb1EAW5tZJ— Tom Regan (@tomreganWSB) January 15, 2020
Sells said she has also heard reports of children experiencing delusions and hallucinations while on Tamiflu, but she said she is not entirely convinced the antiviral drug is the sole cause.
"I think the evidence is unclear as to whether it's the Tamiflu, or the flu itself," Sells said. "Children with fever can often have delusions and hallucinations."
Sells said the best way to fight flu symptoms isn't with a drug, but with a berry that's native to Georgia.
Sells said she tells parents to try elderberry juice syrup or gummies. The berry has been used for centuries as a home remedy for colds and flu. It deceases inflammation and boots the immune system to help deactivate the flu virus.
Sells said the berries can cut the flu short by two or three days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said they see a peak in flu activity between December and February, but it can be an active season as late as May.
Researchers are still working on a universal vaccine that would fight all flu strains.
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