This has been a pretty awful flu season for the whole country; there's no doubt about it. But in our minds, the only thing worse than a bad flu season is people taking advantage of all the sickness going around by selling fraudulent products claiming to treat the flu.
Running a horrific health scam like this may sound crazy, but the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is reminding us that some people in this world are unfortunately capable of doing exactly that. "We understand the toll this year's flu season has taken on peoples' lives," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD in a release. "As the flu continues to make people sick — and even cause deaths — unscrupulous actors may also be taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers by promoting their fraudulent products that have not been reviewed by the FDA to be safe and effective."
Though we'd like to think that we'd know how to spot a phony med if we saw one, it never hurts to brush up on some of the sneakiest signs that a product — or even a whole entire pharmacy — is not to be trusted. Here are the latest tips, straight from the FDA:
Signs of a Fraudulent Over-the-Counter Product
It claims to reduce the severity and length of the flu.
It promises to boost your immunity naturally — without a flu shot.
It boasts that it is a safe and effective alternative to the flu vaccine.
It declares that it will prevent you from catching the flu.
It asserts that it is an effective treatment for the flu.
It proclaims that it will provide a faster recovery from the flu.
It advertises that it supports your body's natural immune defenses to fight off the flu.
Signs of an Illegitimate Pharmacy
It allows you to buy prescription medicine without a prescription from your health care provider.
It does not not have a US state-licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions.
It offers very low prices that seem too good to be true.
It is located outside of the US or ships "worldwide."
It's also worth remembering that there are no legal over-the-counter meds to prevent or cure the flu. Any med that claims it can do so is one you should never buy — period.
Next, learn easy ways to quickly warm up a cold home in the video below: