Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is more than a bad cold. Seasonal outbreaks cause not only tremendous misery but huge numbers of hospital admissions and fatalities. Although the "holy grail" – a universal flu vaccine that recognizes all strains, including newly-arising ones – is not yet available, this does not mean that you should not get the seasonal vaccine. You should, and soon.
Do you want grandma to keep baking cookies? Well, she won't anymore if she dies from the flu. So go get your shot when the next flu season rolls around in October.
Many Americans hold beliefs about the flu vaccine that are at odds with the best available scientific evidence. For example, a recent study found that 43 percent of Americans believe that the seasonal flu vaccine can give us the flu. Scientific research strongly suggests that this is not true. Because most modern flu shots do not contain a live virus, the shot itself simply cannot get us sick.
Only about 37% of American adults bothered to get a flu shot this past flu season. That's actually a decrease from the previous season, when about 43% got one. Partially as a result, 80,000 Americans died from the flu. On the flip side, we did buy more organic food than ever before.
Our national experience of influenza, as one disease with a set season, makes it difficult to recognize that flu is not a monolith. The global exposure to influenza has a lot more variation, and vaccination rates are influenced by much more than we might expect.
The media reports of a polio-like condition mostly impacting children sound pretty scary. But let's give acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM, some well-needed context.
New research into the 1918 and 2009 influenza pandemics reveal a potential warning sign: Mild cases of influenza that occur in the spring or summer may be a harbinger of a devastating pandemic to come in the autumn.
CDC data shows that for the past few weeks, of sick people who went to the hospital and got tested about 26% of specimens were positive for influenza. Now in Week 7 of 2018, it has dropped to 25%. Finally, we appear to have turned the corner on this awful flu season.
We have yet another tragic flu story in the news. This time it's a 38-year old mother who died because she thought the flu drug she was prescribed was too expensive. The only problem? The media got everything wrong. The flu drug would not have made any difference.
This flu season, one product is making its comeback: orange juice. Sales of OJ seem to have gotten a boost — after years of decline — due to consumers' fears of getting the dreaded illness. But is dosing yourself with high amounts of Vitamin C warranted for this year's flu from hell?
It may be the height of the flu season but diagnosing flu remains a challenge for physicians.