influenza

New reports out of Australia contain some sobering news. The number of influenza cases this year is 2.5-times that of the same time period last year. Since the flu season down under begins in July, these data may give us a glimpse of what to expect in the US this winter.  New South Wales, which has the highest population of any state in the country, had more than 35,000 confirmed flu cases in August. To put this in perspective, the previous record for most cases in a month was 16,686 this past July. August 2016 had 13,602 cases and August 2015 had 12,901. (Figure 1, below)

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It's impossible to keep up with every "alternative fact" or crazy conspiracy theory on the Internet. By the time a lie has circled the globe, the Truth has just put its shoes on1. For some reason, people find falsehoods much more entertaining and believable than the truth.

I thought that I had heard every possible vaccine conspiracy theory out there: Vaccines cause autism. Vaccines aren't necessary and are pushed on us by greedy pharmaceutical companies. Vaccines are used for mind control. Bill Gates is using vaccines to control the human population.

So, even I was slightly surprised to discover yet another vaccine conspiracy theory. A couple days ago on Facebook, I came across the following comment:

"The key to surviving the flu is to get a...

Every year, the recommended childhood and adolescent vaccine schedules are reviewed, adjusted and approved by the following governing bodies:  American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP),  and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

The 2017 revisions are now published for those 0 to 18 years of age with some of the recent changes listed here—see “notes” section for accessing complete information:

Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine

This vaccine protects against certain strains of the...

With winter approaching, perhaps you or somebody you know will be unlucky enough to catch a nasty "stomach flu" or "24-hour flu," which will allow you to spend some quality time in the bathroom. And while you will almost certainly feel better within 24-72 hours, here's the catch: There's no such thing as the stomach/24-hour flu.

This widespread misconception stems from the fact that so many people don't understand what the flu actually is. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, different strains of which take on names such as H1N1 or H5N1. (Our own Dr Julianna LeMieux has eloquently explained these weird names.) The seasonal flu is a potentially serious infection for the...

Flu Season Ahead

Flu Vaccine Updates for 2016-2017  

October marks the beginning of flu season, which means it is time to get a flu shot. The flu season spans the months of October to May, so the ideal time to get vaccinated is before the end of October.  In the United States alone, influenza-related deaths have been estimated to be 3,349 - 48,614 annually, depending on the year.  The influenza vaccine is our best defense against this potentially deadly virus.

Because the flu virus frequently undergoes mutations, a new vaccine must be formulated each year.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses prevalence data from preceding months to determine which strains of influenza...

shutterstock_389013259 "If I Don't Look, It Won't Hurt" courtesy of Shutterstock

Many parents blanch at the thought of taking their kids to the doctor for vaccinations. No matter how much you explain the necessity for that pinprick, it's hard to overcome the fear of pain (which makes the whole experience worse). So when the first nasal spray flu vaccine became available in 2003, it was well received.

Unfortunately, that option is no longer available. At least for now. An advisory committee from the CDC just recommended that the spray should...

shutterstock_154217945 Young Infant via Shutterstock

Babies can't be immunized against influenza until they're around 6 months old, so it's important that their mothers get vaccinated during pregnancy so that they can pass their antibodies to the babies before birth. A recent study confirms the...

i_love_vaccines_t_shirts-rcc3bcf37b21247b9845621ed86a9e63d_804gy_1024A New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that a recent New York City mandate, requiring a flu vaccination for kids as a condition for attending school or daycare, was invalid.

State Supreme Court Judge Manuel J. Mendez found that NYC's mandatory influenza vaccination requirement for children aged six months through five years who are in, or plan to attend...

influenza virus via shutterstock.com
influenza virus via shutterstock.com

Since making its debut during World War II, the influenza vaccine has become one of the most heavily criticized immunizations by both anti-vaxers and science advocates. The seasonal nature of the shot, as well as misinformation about its perceived toxins, have damaged the vaccine...

reminder for flu shot via shutterstock
reminder for flu shot via shutterstock

It's already mid-November, so if you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, you're behind schedule; public health advocates recommend you get it by Halloween. However, it is not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones against the influenza virus.

For most healthy people,...