Vitamin C, home remedies not enough to combat flu: expert

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2019 04:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2019 05:09 PM

MANILA - Getting extra doses of vitamin C is not enough to get rid of flu, while taking over-the-counter antibiotics may worsen the virus, an infectious disease expert warned Tuesday.

Paracetamol, cough medicine, supplements and other home remedies give "temporary relief" but does not heal the viral infection, said Dr. Rontgene Solante, chairman of San Lazaro Hospital's Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Department.

"Pag may influenza, hindi sagot ang antibiotic. If you take an antibiotic without being diagnosed by a doctor, you may induce drug resistance, lalakas lalo 'yung virus," he said.

(Antibiotic is not the cure for influenza. If you take an antibiotic without being diagnosed by a doctor, you may induce drug resistance and end up having a stronger virus.)

"Puwedeng uminom ng vitamins pero these are just supplementary treatments. It's not really something that can prevent an infection," he said.

(You can take vitamins but these are just supplementary treatments.)

Left untreated, the flu virus can worsen an already existing complication such as cardiovascular diseases, Solante said.

"It (virus) binds to your organ, then it causes instability, disruption that's why patients develop complications," he said.

The best cure for influenza is a prescriptive drug called oseltamivir, but the its supply in the Philippines is "not stable," he said.

"Hindi ganun kadami because drug companies divert it to countries with a higher usage of this drug. Sa Pilipinas konti lang gumagamit kasi the awareness that this drug can treat influenza is not that high," he said.

(We don't have a lot of supply because drug companies divert it to countries with a higher usage of this drug. The awareness that this drug can treat influenza is not that high in the Philippines.)

Solante said medical practitioners are having a hard time convincing Filipino patients to avail of anti-flu vaccines, considered as the best cure against influenza.

"The problem is we don't put vaccination as an important strategy. We always gear towards treatment, not prevention," he said.