Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Influenza

NOTE: THIS POST WAS WRITTEN SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 0 AND 12 MONTHS AGO DURING FLU SEASON HERE.  NO, I WILL NOT TELL YOU WHERE "HERE", BUT I WILL TELL YOU THAT FLU SEASON IS DURING THE WINTER HERE, JUST LIKE IT IS WHEREVER THE HELL YOU LIVE.

I'm a healthy guy in my {redacted} decade of life.  I've had very few serious maladies in my life, the most dangerous of which (so far) was appendicitis in my 20s.  I don't take any prescription medication, I have no allergies, and I have no chronic health problems, so I have very little reason to complain about my health.

And now I have the goddamned flu.

Let me clarify something quite clearly: I do not have a cold.  Yes, I have nasal congestion, a nasty productive cough, and a headache.  But I do not have a cold.  I also have generalised body aches and a high fever of 39.6° (that's 103.3° Fahrenheit for you Americans out there).  Yeah . . . this is not a cold.  I have the fucking flu, and it sucks.  It sucks a lot.  I've had dozens of colds in my life, some of them worse than others, but none of them was ever bad enough to land me in bed.  I have spent exactly 0 days of my adult life in bed with a cold.

Until now.  I spent the first three days of last week in bed with this goddamned plague.

It started off innocently enough while I was on call, just a mild cough and some congestion.  I figured it was just another cold, because my wife recently got over a cold and everyone around me seems to be sick with something.  The next day, however, I felt like I had been run over by a truck, and I chalked it up to it being the day after another tough trauma call with no sleep.  I managed to trudge through that day, but when I woke up the next morning that truck that had hit me had turned into a freight train.

My body temperature that morning: 39.6.

That day the mild cough turned into a constant, hacking cough, and I would have been amazed at the stuff my lungs were able to produce if I had been able to muster the energy to become amazed.  Ibuprofen was able to bring my temperature down to the point where it didn't feel like my head was ready to explode, and oxymetazoline gave me the ability to breathe for several hours.  Realising that this was not just a cold, I quarantined myself in a spare bedroom (Mrs. Bastard's orders), and Mrs. Bastard was vigilant in keeping the Little Bastards far, far away from me.

And for the first time in my adult life, I spent all day in bed.

The next morning my temperature was still 39.5.  I discovered I was scheduled to be back on trauma call the next day, but I was absolutely unwilling to expose any of my prospective patients (and coworkers) to this scourge.  Fortunately I was able to switch call with a colleague.  Again, all day in bed.

I will reiterate that I am a healthy guy and I tend to get over colds quickly, usually within a day or two, so I expected to be better by day three.  But that morning my temperature was still 38.5.  The coughing had not improved at all, my head was still pounding, and I could barely breathe.  This is not just a cold, dummy, I kept reminding myself.  There were several times when I considered going to the hospital, but I wasn't quite there.

It was three days in bed and three more days after that before I felt able to go to work.  I wore a surgical mask in the hospital for the next several days to avoid exposing patients.  I wore gloves and washed my hands religiously.  But just walking through the halls seemed to take my breath away.  I even tried taking the stairs once - big mistake.

It has now been two full weeks since I felt my first symptoms, and I am finally very close to 100%.  I still have a very occasional cough, but I haven't taken any medicine in well over a week.

Now I'm sure many of you are wondering one very important thing: did I get a flu shot?  Yes, you know I got a flu shot.

So the flu shot failed!  It's worthless!  Why bother!

This seems to be one of several arguments I have seen people make against getting a flu shot:
  • It is ineffective.
  • The strains in the flu shot are nothing more than a guess.
  • The flu shot gave me the flu.
  • I've never gotten a flu shot, and I've never gotten the flu.
  • Why bother getting a flu shot?  It's just the flu.
I could give you the short version and just say that all those arguments are ridiculous bullshit.  However, that would be the lazy way out and would convince exactly no one, and since I'm no longer sick, I can no longer use that excuse.  So instead I shall address all these issues in order:
  1. Yes, the flu shot failed to prevent me from getting the flu.  Yes, the flu shot is the least effective vaccine in existence.  However, the flu shot is not ineffective, as the efficacy averages around 45% (though it may be as low as 10% this year).  However, even if the efficacy is 45%, that is literally an infinite times more effective than not getting the flu shot, which would have an efficacy of exactly ZERO PERCENT.  Not getting a flu shot is a guarantee not to be protected, but getting a flu shot may protect you.  That should be a no-brainer.
  2. The strains in each year's flu shot are an educated guess based on worldwide surveillance.  It isn't like the scientists throw a dart against a dart board.
  3. It is a 100% biological impossibility to get the flu from a flu shot (I'm not talking about the nasal mist here).  It is an inactivated vaccine, which means the viruses in it are dead and are thus NOT capable of infecting you.  At all.  EVER.  No one in the history of flu shots has ever gotten the flu from the shot.  The "flu" you think you got was your body's immune response to the vaccine, and it lasts for a day or two.  That is NOT the flu.  If you did get the flu immediately after getting the flu shot, you already had it when you got the shot since influenza has an incubation period of 1-4 days.
  4. If you've never gotten the flu despite never getting a flu shot, that doesn't make you smart or correct, it just makes you lucky.  If you survive a hurricane despite staying in your house, that doesn't make you smart for staying, it makes you a complete fucking idiot for staying, just a lucky complete fucking idiot.
  5. "Just the flu" infected nearly 1/3 of the planet in 1918 and killed about 50 million people that year.  Remember the H1N1 "bird flu" from a few years ago?  Yeah, that was the same H1N1 that caused the Spanish flu epidemic.  "Just the flu" still kills hundreds of thousands of people each year worldwide, and up to 50,000 people in the US each year, most of whom are either very old or very young.  The flu is not a cold, and the common cold is not the flu.  There is no such thing as "just the flu".  The flu kills.
I don't often do recaps, but I'm going to do a goddamned recap:
  • The flu sucks.
  • The flu is not a cold.
  • The flu kills.
  • You can't get the flu from a flu shot.
  • The flu shot mostly sucks, but it's better than nothing.
  • Get your goddamned flu shot.
So having gotten the flu despite getting a flu shot, is there any chance I'll be getting a flu shot next year?

You're goddamned right I will.  I'll be first in line.

EDIT February 2018:
I got my goddamned flu shot the first day it was available.  Get your goddamned flu shot.

69 comments:

  1. "The flu shot mostly sucks, but it's better than nothing."
    Perhaps...
    "The flu shot isn't perfect, but it's a lot better than nothing."
    What's the hospitalization rate +/- vaccine ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Incorrect. The average efficacy is 45%. This comment will be deleted for being too full of bullshit.

      Delete
    2. For this year, the overall efficacy is 33% and for H3N2, the efficacy is approximately 10%.

      45% efficacy is still shit for a vaccine.

      I provided links to reliable sources. This is why I rarely come here, because you are not really interested in considering real facts and stats.

      Being a bully isn't really admirable, even if you have MD after your name, and ignoring the facts to suit your own agenda is deplorable.

      Delete
    3. (and whoops... I think I responded as if you deleted my comments below. Apologies, and delete this if you prefer.)

      Delete
    4. Oh yet another delicate flower who thinks someone correcting his glaring error is bullying. Boo fucking hoo. You are cherry picking, and I'm correcting you. That's called education, not bullying.

      45% efficacy for a vaccine is much lower than every other vaccine. That's well established and not news. For a flu shot, however, it is acceptable for the reasons I elucidated earlier. If you don't understand that or refuse to admit it as opposed to every major professional medical society in the world, that's your failure and yours alone.

      But go ahead, complain about me being a bully on my blog again. See what happens.

      Delete
  2. In december my twin sister had her boyfriend stay at our house whil we were all on vacation from college. Neither of them had the flu shot but i had. We all got the flu, but it was far less severe for me. We got terraflu (correct me if im wrong on the spelling) as recommended by a doctor friend of ours and trudged through it. The kicker is my sister and her boyfriend were planning to get the flu shot the very same day they came down with it. After they got better they got the flu shot. Because it can always come back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not the same strain, no.

      Delete
    2. Terraflu is a medecine. I dont know what you mean by not the same strain

      Delete
    3. I think he was saying once you've beaten a particular strain of flu, THAT strain won't be back soon.

      Delete
    4. That's what I was saying, yes.

      Delete
    5. And the protection can be quite long-range, as we know from what happens population-wise with novel strains like the initial outbreak of H1N1 and the 1918 strain.

      Delete
  3. during the H1N1 year, my entire department was issued the flu vaccine. those deemed t high risk got the injection while the rest of us got the "snort"

    despite confirmed exposures, including one with confirmed H1N1 in the household, (fortunately not fatal) we had exactly zero infections in the department.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I got the flu shot, I also got the flu. It most definitely was not a cold. I woke up with a fever of 103 and looked out the window. There was snow on the ground and about 50 deer roaming around the back yard. I felt terrible and had slept through the evening news. I didn't know it was supposed to snow. I thought I was hallucinating and called my son (an RN) to take me to the hospital. He told me that the snow and deer were real and that I should go back to bed. He said the people who were dying from this years flu are the ones who go to the hospital and then get MRSA or Pneumonia. He said as long as I wasn't Kussmaul breathing that I should stay home and stay hydrated. I'm still not sure if he didn't want to drive on the ice and was thinking about my insurance policy or if it was excellent advice. Anyway, it's been almost 2 weeks and I think I might live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. for those for whom Kussmaul breathing has no meaning, or, like me, a Kussmaul is the battery charger/shore power manager, wiki has this to say:

      Kussmaul breathing is a deep and labored breathing pattern often associated with severe metabolic acidosis, particularly diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) but also kidney failure.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the explanation.

      Delete
  5. DocBastard,

    What is the best way to handle a 103 or lower fever? Reduce it as possible to be comfortable, or leave it as high as tolerable to disadvantage the virus or bacteria?

    Restated, is fever an effective natural response to infection, or is it mostly an uncomfortable symptom?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. fever is an effective natural response to infection - up to the point where it starts cooking your brain and internal organs, of course.
      it is like inflammation - it is part of the process and if you overdo the squelching of it, you slow the process.

      and pain is a natural warning to not overexert - though they are now figuring out that total immobilization results in things healing "stiff"

      Delete
  6. My job entails teaching university, or rather standing in front of a large room and attempting to teach writing to 25 people at once, which is something of a doomed endeavor. But since I usually get stuck with first-year essay writing (entire rant about US university system goes here), most of those 25 people live on campus, in dormitories, which is a euphemism for "very large petri dish" in which all sorts of infectious diseases run rampant. These people give me pieces of paper -- that's sort of what the job is all about, on my end -- that they have touched with their germy hands. Therefore, even if I weren't asthmatic and thus at higher risk of complications, I would still be second in (the proverbial long, international) line behind DocB for the shot. I did also try very hard to argue the notion of herd immunity to two healthy 18-year-old males who used the "I never get the flu, so I don't need the shot" idiocy on me. I guess my failure to become a biology professor (or indeed, a man) caused my words to bounce right off....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good to know you are feeling better! I last had the flu in January of 1988, while 6 months pregnant. At first I feared I might die, then worried that I wouldn't. Haven't missed a flu shot since and in spite of working in health care have managed not to get the flu again. Lots of hand washing helps, too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I had my flu shot in October and so far haven’t caught the flu.
    Way back in 1968 I had what was then called the Hong Kong Flu. Was so very sick and got pneumonia. Remember my parents taking me to the ER. Was sick for about 2 weeks. Since then I have had flu a few times, never as bad. The last 10 years I have gotten the flu shot.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm glad you made it, DB! I've been getting the shot every year since I was 55 or so, and have avoided it so far this year. Got the flu a few years ago at the end of March and ended up with pneumonia (yes, I'm old). Took about a month before I felt like my normal self. Glad you didn't have any complications and hope the family didn't get it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. BTW, we older ladies often pee when we cough hard and repeatedly, which adds insult to injury.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get doing those pelvic floor exercises! Its never too late to make an improvement.

      Delete
  11. Dear person with a needle phobia,

    I'm like you. I'm terrified of shots (and in my case, I have hit both sides of fight-or-flight mode). We may have differences in our reactions, but the point is that we both hate needles. You know you need a shot, but you try to avoid it where you can. In my case, I feel so embarrassed by my reaction, that it can lead me to avoiding anything medical; I feel like my reactions are a waste of a nurse's time and an annoyance for them, too.

    But we can get past this. We know shots are important. We may even have loved ones that rely on us getting our shots to help protect them. We exchange a relatively short time of fear for their safety. However, yearly flu shots can build up on top of other shots. It may seems like too many and that the flu shot is maybe lower on your shot priority list, but we need our flu shots.

    Now, I'm not saying "Get over it". It's never that easy. Maybe you are like me and find that "Get over it" is one of the worst things somebody can say. It's like it's your fault, but it's not. Our fears aren't easy to ease. We never asked for them, and we often have no idea where to look for help. There is no magical cure.

    What I am saying is to take steps to help you in the long-run. These might not completely
    erase your fear, but they will lessen its severity. Do some research about your kinds of reactions and take steps to lessen them. For example, I had the thought of needles be a first trigger, so I tried thinking things through and weighing pros
    and cons. I would repeatedly work myself up. Now, thinking about needles isn't as bad as it once was. Seeing needles is another trigger, and I am still working on this one. I look at images (and one day will work up to clips) to desensitize myself to the sight of a needle. When my anxiety does flare up, I try to control my breathing to help alleviate it a bit. These are just some examples. Your reactions may be different and you may find different tactics that work for you. It doesn't work overnight, but practice will help make your future shots much easier.

    yeah Also, communicate with your doctor or nurse before your shot, especially if you are just starting to practice lessening your anxiety. Let them know about your fears and possible reactions because they may adjust how they approach you. In my most case, I've had an amazing nurse recently who kept my attention elsewhere by asking me questions and drawing my attention to her and not the needle. Usually it's hard for me to distract myself from the needle, but her intervention helped me tremendously even though how she helped was so simple. This may not work for you, but it's hopefully a start to help find something that can help make it easier.

    Know you are not alone. Get your flu shot. Things will get better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hell of a bad phobia to have...

      Delete
    2. I havea fear of needles thanks to an injury some years ago in which they had to numb the area of the wound by sticking the needle directly into it. I nearly blacked out. So ever since then when getting shots i go into full flight mode the moment i see it.(never fight oddly)
      Luckily, for shots the place I go to has this simple method to make you ignore the pain, so it also helps lessen the fear. What do they do? Right before they insert the needle they pinch you. Literally pinch and go. Its done so fast you dont even feel the pain. It sounds stupid but its so simple and it works. Just as your mind registers ow ive been pinched it doesnt even have time to register that a needle was stuck into you. Works flawlessly.
      Still have to get over actually seeing it though.

      Delete
    3. I classify more as an aversion, so I can manage it with looking away if needed. t's part of why I don't do medical training, though.

      Delete
  12. I have read that the flu shot is mostly ineffective for people over 65. My doctor confirms this, but says I should get it "anyway." ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its still better than nothing. As doc mentioned.

      Delete
    2. This year it is statistically insignificant in difference to having had nothing. The percentage is number of people in 100 who have any protection, not the influenza protection bar level for an individual.

      Delete
    3. Statistically insignificant is a very technical term, so surely you have some evidence to back up this claim. If you do not, your comment will be deleted.

      Delete
    4. There are a couple of flu vaccines especially made for older people.
      https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm
      I don't think the claim about the percent effective is true.

      Delete
    5. My claim comes from the analysis done by the government health department data in my area on the actual numbers this year. As you yourself are very loathe to reveal where you are located, I am sure you will understand if I don't publish that which will pinpoint me. The difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated was deemed statistically insignificant. Yes, it is a technical term, and I believe the P was 0.05, so I believe the data.

      Delete
    6. (whoops, sorry, editing error. "done by the government health department in my area on the actual numbers" (I first said it has been done with their data and the anticipated someone would suggest I was incapable of analysing the data and so wanted to point out it was done by the government analysts. Managed to garble it with the edit)

      Delete
    7. Laura, it is well documented that this year the percentage effectiveness ranges around 10%, and is lower in older adults. At that point, the protection is statistically insignificant compared to not receiving a vaccine at all. There's also some interesting work being done on the effectiveness of a vaccine on naive recipients vs those who are getting annual flu vaccines. The notion that "some protection is better than none" is not borne out by the data. The idea that a shot every year is better is not supported by the evidence on naive recipients. This is a vaccine that would never leave the lab if it were for anything else, because with this degree of uncertain protection levels and a "good" year hovering around 50% protection, it would never be considered worth producing and there would be serious questions asked about promoting it as heavily as it is promoted. I will never understand the medical position on this particular vaccine, as it flies in the face of vaccine science in many regards.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous, the statistical significance depends on the number of people who were studied.
      There could be a big difference in the liability of vaccinated vs unvaccinated people to get the flu - but if there's only a small number of people studied, it won't be statistically significant.
      Also, the flu vaccine effectiveness is a measure of how much the vaccine reduces the average person's risk of getting flu that's bad enough to go to a doctor.
      The CDC doesn't have an estimate for the effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine yet. There was an estimate in Time magazine that it's about 17% effective for the main flu virus going around.
      A table of flu vaccine effectiveness in the past: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/effectiveness-studies.htm

      Delete
    9. Canada and Australia have provided their assessment, and the CDC expects the US to be similar. For H3N2, the main virus circulating, the effectiveness is about 10%

      http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2018/02/canadian-data-show-low-flu-vaccine-protection-against-h3n2

      And no, the effectiveness is a population number, not an individual number.

      The P number addresses your concerns about the n, and if you don't understand those terms you probably shouldn't be discussing statistics.

      Delete
    10. FROM THAT LINK: adjusted VE against H3N2 was a statistically not significant 17% (95% CI, -14% to 40%)

      Delete
    11. Anonymous, yes that's what the Time magazine article said. It's a preliminary estimate.
      A p-value of 0.05 means that there's a 95% probability that the actual effectiveness is inside the confidence interval.
      If there are fewer people being studied, then there's more random variation in the results. So the 95% confidence interval around the estimate will be larger. That is, the estimate is less certain.
      -14% to 40% is a very large confidence interval. It means it was a small study.

      Delete
    12. That's called "cherry picking", anon. You chose the one number that you think proves your point. That 10% efficacy is only against H3N2. What you chose to ignore is:
      1) Efficacy in Australia overall was 33%
      2) Efficacy in Canada overall was 42%
      3) Efficacy in Canada for influenza B was 55%.

      Curious that you don't mention that. All you said is "This year it is statistically insignificant", which is pure cherry picking.

      You also said:
      This is a vaccine that would never leave the lab if it were for anything else, because with this degree of uncertain protection levels and a "good" year hovering around 50% protection, it would never be considered worth producing and there would be serious questions asked about promoting it as heavily as it is promoted
      If you knew as much about vaccines as you think you do, you would know why this is such a stupid statement. I won't go into the details about the various strains of influenza which don't exist in measles, rubella, smallpox, tetanus, etc, nor will I go into details of the seasonality of influenza. I'll give you the TL;DR version: you're fucking wrong and your stupid argument is bullshit.

      Delete
    13. Anon: if you buy lottery tickets at all, you have a much lower probability of a desirable outcome.

      Delete
  13. Flu shot is too expensive for everyone in my family to get it. We make sure our kid gets it every year, and do what we can with hand sanitizer, eating healthy, and generally minimizing exposure where possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best to do what you can, and you are.

      Delete
    2. There are usually free clinics, often near universities and libraries... try to see if there is one in your area! Better than nothing.

      Delete
    3. It would be a good idea to supplement with the RDA of vitamin D, if you're at risk of being low. That costs very little and helps prevent the flu.

      Delete
    4. We called around, we were lucky just to get our kid one (admittedly a bit late due to switching insurance). Most places were out, or charging $50 per shot. Next year I’ll see if I can jump on the low cost places early. This year was just a rough season.

      Delete
  14. It is now February and the winter (and the flu season that comes with it) is nearly over, if not completely over, in the northern hemisphere (where, I'm guessing, most of your readers are, as am I). If I forgot (= procrastinated) to get the flu shot, should I bother? CAN I even still get one this year? Or just do it next year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flu season last year in the USA lasted into May. Not too late, go get your shot now (Pediatrician)

      Delete
    2. US flu cases may only just be about to reach their peak for this season. And apparently it's not a pretty picture there this winter.

      Delete
  15. Is the flu shot really a bother? It was fairly painless when I got it -- took about a second to inject, and I barely felt it going in -- though I also don't have a needle phobia. If people can handle vaccines, they should be okay with the flu shot.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My grandmother had to wait 2 weeks for a hospital bed because the flu is so bad in Texas this year. A number of minors have died, it's just not worth the damn risk.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It would be great if enough people got the flu shot so that someone with the flu was as likely to infect someone else in the winter, as someone in the flu is currently likely to infect someone else in the summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although perhaps the reason there's less flu in the summer is that children aren't going to school in the summer?
      I was suggesting that a rather minor difference between what people do in winter & summer makes a big difference in the flu.
      But maybe it isn't a minor difference. Maybe the children incubating infectious diseases in schools has a big effect.

      Delete
    2. I'm inclined to suspect a more esoteric reason for the cycle, like the viruses having a seasonal lifestyle with a multiyear dormant period, or some such nonsense.
      maybe influenza is the cicada of the virus world.

      Delete
    3. Consider the studies on Vit D and its effect on influenza, both on duration and severity. Consider the seasonality and the reduction of sunlight in much of the most flu-hit areas.

      Delete
    4. I did see vitamin D mentioned as one of the possible explanations for flu seasonality. It's more useful for people who are deficient according to the current standards, not clear whether it helps if they aren't. But a lot of people are deficient according to the current standards, so it does seem like more vitamin D could do a lot to prevent flu.
      Many people take what's regarded as too much vitamin D, and that isn't good for them either.

      Delete
    5. In most of the world, there is not sufficient sunlight in the winter to produce enough vitamin D,and/or it is too cold to be out long enough in it (or lifestyles are indoor, as they are in many places that would have enough if one were to go outside) and it's very very hard to induce problems with a supplement. IF what you say is true and "many" people take too much, why then the vast numbers who are deficient, according to research on things like childhood rickets, and sunscreen, and supplementation (particularly for infants, but as it was on breastfeeding, also required testing of the mothers), and other such work? Because the claim of too high an intake is not verifiable, and taking more would be wiser than taking none, if one lives where it is impossible to be in the sunlight long enough. My own doctor didn't bat an eye at my intake (800-1200IU supplement daily), and advised me to continue it all year.

      Delete
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4463890/
      "The use of vitamin D as a prophylactic for influenza has shown promise in prevention of illness and reduction of secondary asthma in children.4 In this study there was benefit for influenza A but not influenza B or the common cold. The mechanism of how vitamin D works for influenza A has been described in the literature.5 Interestingly, the 25(OH)D levels identified in the recent Canadian Household Study have shown a drop in the average vitamin D level in Canadians over the past 5 years from about 67.7 nmol/L to 64 nmol/L, with one-third of those surveyed having levels below 50 nmol/L. Levels in the wintertime were considerably lower and would put the Canadian population at risk of a number of medical conditions."
      (not just influenza)

      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170216110002.htm
      "Daily or weekly supplementation halved the risk of acute respiratory infection in people with the lowest baseline vitamin D levels, below 25 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L). However, people with higher baseline vitamin D levels also benefited, although the effect was more modest (10 per cent risk reduction). Overall, the reduction in risk of acute respiratory infection induced by vitamin D was on a par with the protective effect of injectable 'flu vaccine against 'flu-like illnesses."

      Delete
    7. Anonymous, the tolerable upper limit of vitamin D for adults is 4000 IU.
      There's been an increasing number of people taking more than that in their enthusiasm :(
      See https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2632494

      Delete
  18. But influenza is seasonal. There's much less in the summer.
    The cause is unknown, and there are many factors that cause more flu in the winter. The children being in school is one of them. Also, the air is drier in the winter, so the virus particles are lighter and travel farther. And people use central heating in the winter, which can circulate virus particles through big buildings. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza#Seasonal_variations
    But the birds also have more flu in the winter.
    Epidemics are nonlinear - so making a small difference in how many people get the flu from an infected person, could make a big difference in how many people end up getting the flu.
    If more people got flu shots, it would help, but also making changes such as humidifying the air in winter might prevent flu.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wearing a full facemask with HEPA filters also helps avoid the flu :)
    I do - because of severe allergies, but it's also good for other things, such as keeping one's face warm in the winter and avoiding infectious diseases.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I always get the shot. Sometimes I get the flu, sometimes I don't. Nothing but death and taxes are for sure in this life! Every day is a gamble. Live it to fullest each and every day! OT: A hot shot trauma surgeon and his team saved my nephew's life last night in FL. 12 stab wounds to the head, neck and abdomen. Nephew had come to the aid of a woman being attacked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG, I hope she says thank-you.

      Delete
  21. got the flu shot last year, got the flu anyway. Skipped the flu shot this year, haven't gotten sick. It seems the only time I get the flu is when I get the damn shot...and yes, it was the flu, it was confirmed by appropriate medical personnel. Therefore, no more needle jabs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, that's what called a coincidence. I have gotten the flu shot every year, and I've only gotten the flu this one time. This is why studies are done.

      Delete
  22. CDC says their preliminary study found the flu vaccine is more effective than expected.
    They estimate it's 36% effective overall (95% confidence interval is 27% to 44%), meaning you're 36% less likely to get the flu and need to see the doctor if you get a flu shot.
    And it's more effective in young children.
    http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2018/02/us-study-finds-36-flu-vaccine-protection-25-against-h3n2

    ReplyDelete

If you post spam or advertisements, I will hunt you down and eliminate you.

Comments may be moderated. Trolls will be deleted, and off-topic comments will not be approved.

Web-hosted images may be included thusly: [im]image url here[/im]. Maybe. I'm testing it.