Stemming the Spread of Influenza

To the Editor:

Re the Personal Health column "No Vaccines? You Can Still Fight the Flu" (Nov. 2): I agree with the author's suggestions for hygienic approaches to reducing the spread of influenza, but there is currently no evidence that echinacea helps in the prevention or treatment of flu, and it can have side effects.

Also, if enough vaccine can be produced, immunizing all schoolchildren can prevent many flu-related deaths in the elderly, as demonstrated by Japan in the 1980s.

Dr. Gilbert L. Ross
New York