So you’ve got the swine. Sucks, right? You’re stuck in bed, enjoying mucus and America’s Next Top Model marathons. Between your aching fever and the Toad’s-bound freshmen proclaiming their total inebriation as loud as possible, you would do anything to find some relief.
Enter Tamiflu, the miracle drug that supposedly is slaughtering swine, one frustrated Yalie at a time. And according to all indicators, Tamiflu is kicking some serious H1N1 ass.
Seriously, flu viruses everywhere beware: Only .5 percent of all strains of swine can resist Tamiflu, according to a recent CDC study. Impressive, right? Except when you look at what Tamiflu actually does.
Known scientifically as oseltamivir, Tamiflu has been shown to ease some classic flu symptoms, like chills and fever, but does not actually eliminate them. Better yet, it can even reduce the duration of symptoms by up to a day! And Tamiflu’s side effects are minimal, like nausea and vomiting and everything else you’re probably already dealing with if you have the swine. Plus, Tamiflu is really only effective if you take it within 48 hours of developing flu symptoms. In short: If you take Tamiflu a day or two after your nose first starts running, you may enjoy only moderate discomfort for one fewer day!
But I should be fair. Tamiflu is being prescribed for a reason: Who likes puking or feeling like “your eyeballs are burning,” as one swine survivor put it? In truth, Tamiflu’s relief isn’t immediate or widespread. Still, if it brings some solace to you in the depths of your despair (for even Tyra’s charm and serious badonk can fail to raise your spirits when you’re wearing a face mask), then go for it!
Personally, I’m less concerned by the fact that Tamiflu kind of sucks than the currents that underlie it. It seems that Tamiflu is emblematic of a selfish culture that is reactive, not proactive. Tamiflu relaxes symptoms and makes the swine flu experience at least bearable (sort of), but it’s common knowledge that washing your hands frequently is by far the most effective way to keep not only yourself but also those around you from catching the swine.
That, too, is lost every time Tamiflu is prescribed — although Tamiflu treats your symptoms, it won’t prevent you from contaminating everyone in your suite, who could then contaminate everyone in Timothy Dwight (hopefully), etc., etc., etc. Frequent hand washing (aka 12 times a day, not just using Purell every time you enter a dining hall) is a cheap fix that helps to prevent the pandemic flu that threatens to, like, kill us all or something. It’s vital that we focus our energies not on making the flu as pleasant as possible but on stopping it in the first place.
But enough of my soapbox. If valiantly striving toward some medical revolution kind of seems lame when you’re vomiting, confined to your room, actually melting into your bed, then pop that Tamiflu and get pumped for some light relief and the potential that you’ll be able to get trashed next weekend like everyone else. Enjoy your relapse.