I believe we should strive to make informed decisions for ourselves, and our family, rather than succumbing to peer pressure, or fear tactics to influence our actions. Being a child of the 60’s we were encouraged to always “Question Authority”. But in today's world there's far and few who dare take a stand and say “really..is that it? “ Here’s a simple straight forward article about the flu, focusing on the average population. But wait, that’s it? That’s all they have to offer? There’s many proactive steps you can take, that are highly beneficial being left out here. With flu season right around the corner, it’s more important than ever to arm yourself and your loved ones against the virus. And part of that line of defense will be baloxavir marboxil , the first influenza antiviral medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in nearly two decades , the agency announced Wednesday. (wait, did we even have an influenza medication, or flu vaccine 20 yrs ago??) Yes, we need a plan to Avoid the Flu, that should include: stress management (holiday season), getting enough sleep, and nutritious food, limiting sugar intake (it lowers the immune system count within minutes of ingesting), selective public exposure i.e. shop online or less busy times, and start taking an immune system booster. Baloxavir, which will be sold under the trade name Xofluza, is a single-dose medication intended to treat symptoms of acute uncomplicated influenza in people age 12 and older who have experienced flu symptoms for no more than 48 hours. In making its decision, the FDA evaluated results from two clinical trials, involving nearly 2,000 patients, that showed Xofluza to reduce the duration and severity of flu symptoms. Sounds good but the flu virus comes on fast, hard, and not much warning, and once you got it you’re down, and not going anywhere for awhile. Usually when you're sick there's no chance of seeing your PC, so it’s off to urgent care, and who knows what you will be exposed to there. My point being, it could prove a challenge for the ones who need it most (the immune compromised and the elderly), getting to a doctor within the 48 hr. window, to get the medication. (I have faith in Big Pharma, and they'll find a way to provide us with this antiviral when we get our annual flu shot!) “With thousands of people getting the flu every year, and many people becoming seriously ill, having safe and effective treatment alternatives is critical,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “ This novel drug provides an important, additional treatment option.” (Alternatives are always a good thing however using a “novel drug” ?? ) Xofluza will join several other FDA-approved antiviral drugs on the market that treat influenza, such as Tamiflu, a five-day treatment. But Gottlieb still urged families to get their flu vaccinations if they haven’t done so already, as “yearly vaccination is the primary means of preventing and controlling flu outbreaks,” he said in the press statement. (REALLY?) Although effectiveness varies from year to year, the flu vaccine is responsible for keeping millions of people from becoming sick. During the 2016-2017 season, influenza vaccination prevented over 5 million flu illnesses and 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations, according to the CDC. (sounds great, but out of a total of how many cases?) Still, there’s always a chance of catching the flu, even with vaccination ( ah..there’s the small print) . Certain flu strains, such as H3N2, can mutate quickly, which makes it more difficult to develop a vaccine targeted for that particular virus. ( but that is the most common virus??) What’s more, flu strains often change from one season to the next, weakening the efficacy of antiviral medication. (So you're saying it’s a coin toss, and a gamble every year?) “Having more treatment options that work in different ways to attack the virus is important because flu viruses can become resistant to antiviral drugs,” Debra Birnkrant, M.D., director of the FDA’s Division of Antiviral Products, said in a statement. (Yes to more treatment options, take a look at my “When Sick” handout, and many others on my website.) Xofluza will become available to patients across the United States within the coming weeks — and with a hefty price tag. The single-dose medication will cost $150 , although some people may be able to get the drug at a discounted rate. Closing thoughts Yes, it's great to have options, but don't put all your eggs on one basket. Just getting your flu shot by no means guarantees you won’t get the flu, and the antivirals have a limited effect. It still boils down to keeping yourself healthy, and taking good care of yourself when you ARE sick. Being proactive is always the best plan of action.