Health officials warn against fake flu treatment products
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services advised the public to avoid using fraudulent flu medicines that might have skipped evaluation for safety and effectiveness and may contain dangerous ingredients.
"Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to prevent this infectious disease and its serious complications," health officials said, noting that the flu is a serious disease, caused by influenza viruses, that can lead to hospitalization and even death.
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated every year against influenza. This is particularly important for people at an increased risk for serious complications, including young children, adults 65 years and older, and those with chronic medical conditions," DPHSS said,
DPHSS said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is particularly concerned that the use of fraudulent products might cause people to delay, forgo, or stop the medical treatment they need, leading to serious and life-threatening harm.
The ingredients in fraudulent products could lead to unexpected side effects and interactions with other medications people may be taking.
DPHSS said some sellers illegally offer products with unproven claims to prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure the flu even though they have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. These products can be found online, including popular marketplaces, and in retail stores. They may be labeled as dietary supplements, foods, hand sanitizers, nasal sprays, or devices.
Protect yourself and your family by looking out for potentially fraudulent flu and antiviral products being sold without a prescription, which may claim to: · Reduce the severity and length of flu or other viral infections. · Boost your immunity naturally without a flu vaccine. · Act as a safe and effective alternative to the flu vaccine. · Prevent catching the flu or viral infections. · Be an effective treatment for flu or viral infections. · Provide faster recovery from the flu or viral infections. · Support your body’s natural immune defenses to fight off flu or other viruses.
Health officials reminded residents that there are FDA-approved antiviral drugs for flu that are available by prescription from healthcare professionals.
"There are no legally marketed non-prescription drugs to prevent, treat, or cure the flu. However, there are legally marketed over-the-counter drugs to reduce fever and to relieve muscle aches, congestion, and other symptoms typically associated with the flu," officials said.
The department said has not received any local report of injuries or illnesses associated with the use of fraudulent flu products.