The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that unproven products that claim to prevent or treat flu might be dangerous.
The agency warns that products that are not FDA-approved and sold illegally may be dangerous.
These products can be found online and in retail stores. They may be labeled as dietary supplements, foods, hand sanitizers, nasal sprays, or devices.
According to the FDA, these fraudulent flu products 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.
Currently, there are no legally marketed non-prescription drugs to prevent, treat, or cure the flu. But there are over-the-counter drugs to relieve flu symptoms, such as fever, muscle aches, congestion, and others.
Flu and its potentially severe complications can be prevented with a vaccine, which is recommended to everyone six months and older.
The CDC says that seasonal influenza activity remains high but appears to be declining in some areas, as the number of flu hospitalizations decreased nationally during week 49 compared to week 48.
So far this season, there have been at least 15 million illnesses, 150,000 hospitalizations, and 9,300 deaths from flu, the CDC estimates.