We were warned, and thus it has come to pass: After the Centers for Disease Control announced at the end of last year that this season’s flu vaccine might not do much to prevent people from getting sick, the agency released results today that show shots have only been about 23% effective.
There you are, arm bared and teeth set, ready to endure the needle required to deliver a dose of flu vaccine, because you know that getting a flu shot will prepare you against the onslaught of illness. But it might not work out all that well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, because this year’s batch of vaccine is proving a bit weak in the face of the current strain of flu going around for 2014-15.
Stacy doesn’t have a lot of money to throw around, but she booked a flight to visit her terminally ill aunt on the other side of the country. Then she got the flu. Spreading the disease to her fellow passengers would be bad enough, but a cancer patient certainly doesn’t need the influenza virus. Stacy rescheduled to a time when she would be less of a walking germ factory, and asked Delta whether they could waive her change fee. Sure, they said: as long as she gave them contact information for her aunt’s doctor. [More]
You might want to think twice the next time you sneeze in the general direction of your beloved pet* — according to researchers, people underestimate their ability to pass on illnesses like seasonal flu to their furry friends. Instead of blithely breathing into Rover or Fluffy’s face, researchers say you should be as mindful of passing on bugs to your pets as you are with your friends, family and co-workers.
An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that everyone get flu vaccinations from now on, not just people in special higher risk groups. According to WebMD, “the CDC almost certainly will make universal flu vaccination official U.S. policy for this fall’s 2010-2011 flu season, as it consistently follows the advice of the panel of outside experts.”
The Centers for Disease Control have issued a warning that there’s a new, swine flu-themed phishing email going around. It says something about an imaginary State Vaccination H1N1 Program, and asks you to create an account on the cdc.gov website–and if you click the link, malicious code may be installed on your system. Obviously you have brain worms if you fall for this.
When I look at flight attendants I do not see mere mortals. I see heroic flying immune systems. When the zombificating superflu does eventually strike, those who survive will no doubt be ruled by former flight attendants and elementary school teachers. In the meantime, they’ll somehow continue working in a “flying petri dish” as some airlines continue to refuse H1N1 as an excuse to rebook.
Quick, give Hammacher Schlemmer $70 + shipping so you can bring one of these magic H1N1 wand obliterators with you on Black Friday! The “technology for people who don’t get technology” catalogue explains that the wand’s UV light will kill “99.98%” of H1N1 viruses after you hold it 3/4″ above a surface for at least 5 seconds. That’s certainly convenient. Just carry it with you and use it on doors, boxes, shopping carts, and of course the cashier’s hands before you accept any change. Be sure to bring an adapter for your car, however, because it only lasts about 90 minutes after an 8-hour charge.
G.’s young son was recently ill with H1N1, but no pharmacy in the city where he lives had liquid Tamiflu in stock. (Even the federal government released its stockpile not long ago.) He writes that nearly every pharmacy he called turned him down. Then he learned that the liquid can be made from Tamiflu capsules by pharmacists, or even by parents at home. Why didn’t the pharmacy staff, or his doctor, tell him this?
As trick-or-treating time looms, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you: BOO!!! SWINE FLU!
Do you have H1N1 flu? Probably! Aaaugghh! But before you haul your feverish butt to a clinic or a doctor, consider taking this free online flu self-assessment test from Emory University. It probably could have been combined into a one-page flowchart, but that’s not as much fun as pressing YES/NO buttons.
Medtipster is a website that locates nearby sources of discount generic versions of prescription drugs, as well as flu and other immunization shots. You enter the drug (or shot) you’re looking for and your zip code and it spits out a list of nearby pharmacies. Currently they don’t list H1N1 vaccination sources, but they say they’re going to add that info as soon as it becomes available.
Sure, there are plenty of websites out there touting colloidal silver as a miracle cure for every disease in existence. This would be great if it actually worked. Now that flu season looms and H1N1/swine flu panic has returned to the nation, Consumer Reports Health would like to remind you that no, you can’t cure chronic or communicable diseases with colloidal silver. Plus, it might turn your skin blue.
Remember the class-action lawsuit against the makers of cold-and-flu-preventing magic potion Airborne? Airborne claimed that it could prevent or shorten colds and flus, without any actual scientific evidence to back those claims up.
Pack up your maracas, Carnival is returning to Mexico! The cruise line wasn’t happy with putzing off the California coast, and the CDC says that swine flu isn’t deadly enough to keep us out of Mexico forever. By the end of the month, souvenir-seeking Americans will again be able to down margaritas and scoop up trinkets in Cabo, Cozumel, and Puerto Vallarta.