FDA warns against fraudulent flu products

A sign for the Food And Drug Administration is seen outside of the headquarters in White Oak, Maryland. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday cautioned over illegal, unproven flu products potentially circulating on the market.

“The fall and winter flu season may bring out dishonest sellers hawking fraudulent products to unsuspecting consumers, who are already concerned about protecting themselves from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” the FDA wrote in an update.

The agency said there aren’t any FDA-approved over-the-counter drugs to treat or cure the flu, though there are approved products to lessen its symptoms, like congestion, fever and muscle aches.

There are also FDA-approved antiviral prescription drugs to help battle the illness, best used soon after symptoms develop.

When the FDA identifies illegal products, it sends companies warning letters in an effort to take the product off the market.

This is also true for unapproved products claiming to cure or treat coronavirus, as one example; by mid-October, the FDA’s list of fraudulent COVID-19 products had reached nearly 120.

Health officials say the best course of action against the flu, and its potentially serious outcomes, is a flu shot. Doctors have been emphasizing the importance of getting a flu vaccination this year to help reduce the burden on already overwhelmed hospitals from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu shot, except for those with serious allergies to its ingredients.The CDC advises consulting your health care provider to decide an appropriate vaccine.

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