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Do Over-the-Counter Flu Remedies Work?

Posted: 3:51 PM Jan 10, 2013
Reporter: Fay Li
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This season, the flu is coming on strong and hitting people across the country, including MSU fresman Emily Lemmer.

"I felt terrible, I had a terrible headache, and I was tired and kept getting the chills," said Lemmer.

She got sick right before finals week and turned to over-the-counter supplements in hopes of getting better faster.

"A week later, I felt better," Lemmer said.

Shops like The Better Health Market puts together a whole section during flu season. It's stocked with over-the-counter remedies, ranging from homeopathic medicine promising symptom relief to other supplements rich in vitamins and herbs.

"You want to prevent and you can take different products to help with that, but once you do get the flu or the cold, there are things for that as well," said Bart Gregoroff from The Better Health Market.

Doctors say a stronger body will be more effective in battling the virus.

"Any kind of vitamins, any kind of antioxidents are always going to be helpful breaking down things, helping boost your immune system. Look for those kinds of things over the counter," said Dr. Jeff Hirschi from McLaren Greater Lansing.

However, doctors stress that there's no proven answer as to how useful these remedies are in treating the flu and suggest that you ask your family doctor about taking them, especially if you're on other medication. They say prevention is more effective and it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"Really the only way to get immunity to these viruses is to get the proper flu shot," said Dr. Hirschi.

According to Dr. Hirschi, your immune system reacts to the vaccine by creating antibodies that can protect you against the flu.
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