Patients turn to IV treatment to nix flu-like symptoms

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IVme, a Chicago-based concierge medical service, offers vitamin-infused IV bags to help combat flu-like symptoms. (WLS)

As a flu epidemic sweeps the nation, a Chicago medical company is offering something different that they say will treat those flu-like symptoms - vitamin-infused IV bags.

IVme, a concierge medical service, said their alternative treatment will fight the symptoms faster.

"Traditionally what people do is they go to CVS or Walgreens and they buy echinacea and buy zinc and buy cough syrup and buy all that stuff and say, 'Okay, I am going to knock this out,'" said Dr. Jack Dybis, IVme co-founder and a trauma and general surgeon. "But those don't work quite as well as ours. What we're doing is taking it to a higher level."

Patients seeking IVme's cold/flu IV treatment are hooked up to an IV bag infused with high doses of vitamin B and C and zinc. Anti-inflammatories are also added, depending on what symptoms the patient exhibits.

Dybis said IV treatments work faster, delivering 100 percent of fluids, electrolytes and vitamins directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the gastrointestinal tract, which can slow absorption with orally administered supplements.

"With our treatment, we can cut down from being sick from three to five days to only being sick for one to two days, and if you do the math that's a huge savings for companies," said Dybis.

The price tag? $159 price tag per cold/flu treatment.

IVme said December was the company's busiest month in its five year history. The company attributes that to this year's cold and flu season.

However, Dybis stresses IVme's treatments are only for cold and flu-like symptoms and do not take the place of the flu shot or anti-viral medications, like Tamiflu.

Dr. Katherine Tynus, an internal medical physician at Northwestern Medicine, said the first line of defense in avoiding the flu is to get the shot, but does see value in IV treatment for getting back on your feet faster.

"If that's available to you, it's certainly not a bad thing to do. I'm not going to say that it is it just not necessary for the vast majority of people," Tynus said.

Tynus adds it's also not an accessible option for most because of high cost.
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