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Flu infections sweep America hospitalizing thousands and leaving 18 children dead of complications, and it's going to get worse

The U.S. has been hit with a particularly aggressive early flu season this year with widespread reports of the illness across the country, hospitalizing 2,257 people and leaving 18 children dead before the end of 2012.

And health officials say the numbers haven't even peaked yet.

'I think we're still accelerating,' Tom Skinner, a Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman, told reporters.

The latest figures from the CDC show 29 states and New York City reporting high levels of flu activity, up from 16 states and New York City just one week prior.

Overall, 41 states reported cases.

'It’s about five weeks ahead of the average flu season,' said Lyn Finelli, lead of the surveillance and response team that monitors influenza for the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 'We haven’t seen such an early season since 2003 to 2004.'

During that flu season, Joe Lastinger's daughter Emily, 3, died only five days after coming down with the flu in late January.

'That was the first really bad season for children in a while,' said Lastinger, 40. 'For whatever reason that's not well understood, it affected her and it killed her.'

In that season, illnesses peaked in early to mid-December, with flu-related pneumonia and deaths peaking in early January.

That season was considered a 'moderately severe' season for flu, and ended in mid-February.

It's still too early to tell how bad this year's flu season will get.

While the CDC is waiting for more time to pass before classifying the season, Google Flu Trends Do you have the flu? These are the symptoms to watch for

According to data being gathered by Flu Near You, flu cases have increased dramatically over the last few weeks. Here are the season's most-reported symptoms:

1. Cough - 19 per cent

2. Sore throat - 16 per cent

3. Fatigue - 15 per cent

4. Headache - 14 per cent

5. Body Ache - 10 per cent

6. Fever - 7 per cent.

has already listed it as 'intense' by monitoring flu activity around the world based on internet search terms.

And roughly 4 per cent of users on Flu Near You, a real-time tracking tool gaining about 100 new participants per week, say they're experiencing symptoms.

'That's huge,' John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston, told NBC News. 'Last year, we never got near this.'

Brownstein is one of the founders of Flu Near You, a project, coordinated by Children’s Hospital Boston, the Skoll Global Threats Fund and the American Public Health Association.

The project has been a great tool for generating immediate data about the ongoing flu season.

'It’s what we call ‘nowcasting,' Brownstein said. 'It’s a more up-to-date view.'

CDC data can be as much as two weeks behind real-time reports.

Brownstein's data shows cough is this year's most frequently reported symptom at 19 per cent, ahead of sore throat at 16 per cent, fatigue at 15 per cent, headache at 14 per cent, body ache at 10 per cent, and fever at 7 per cent.

Three our of four people reporting flu symptoms had not been vaccinated.

While Brownstein's data is more immediate, he cautioned against using it as an accurate measure of vaccine's effectiveness because of variables in reporting.

During the 2010-2011 flu season, the CDC reports vaccine's were effective four about 60 percent for all age groups combined.

While there were then reports of vaccinated people developing laboratory-confirmed flu strains, CDC officials said it's not yet possible to know if this year's trends match up though they are 'watching the situation closely.'

Those officials also noted that this year's vaccines seem to be a good match for the two strains of influenza A and one of influenza B circulating.

The H3N2 strain is dominant this year, and it can cause more serious illnesses.

Flu seasons vary widely in severity with some year's totaling up to 200,000 hospitalized and between 3,000 to 49,000 dead.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 17701/18/2013

(cont'd)

About 127 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed this year from the 15 million doses produced for this season.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 101/06/2013

(TYPHOID) MARY!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 301/06/2013

R2 = FRAU

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 401/06/2013

[quote] Three our of four people reporting flu symptoms had not been vaccinated.

And there's this...

[quote] Doctors say this season's flu shot is not doing that great of a job against the current strain.

So which one is it, MSM?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 501/06/2013

[quote] Flu shots kill. Avoid.

Bullshit.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 601/06/2013

Ignorance kills. Avoid.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 701/06/2013

My mom got a flu shot and came down with the flu. The vaccinaton obviously did not work with this particular strain.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 801/06/2013

It is well known among the informed, non-paranoid that the CDC knows and that research proves that the flu shot is not very effective.

[quote]Last month, in a step tantamount to heresy in the public health world, scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota released a report saying that influenza vaccinations provide only modest protection for healthy young and middle-age adults, and little if any protection for those 65 and older, who are most likely to succumb to the illness or its complications. Moreover, the report’s authors concluded, federal vaccination recommendations, which have expanded in recent years, are based on inadequate evidence and poorly executed studies.

[quote]“We have overpromoted and overhyped this vaccine,” said Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, as well as its Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance. “It does not protect as promoted. It’s all a sales job: it’s all public relations.”

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 901/06/2013

Your mom already had the flu, she just hadn't become symptomatic yet. If it's already in your body, the shot won't affect it.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1001/06/2013

They say you can get this flu even if you get the flu shot, so why bother?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1101/06/2013

The fact is that the flu shot will more than likely prevent you from the getting the flu. In the unlikelihood that you do get the flu despite having gotten the shot, your symptoms will be very mild. Have we lost all common sense?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1201/06/2013

R12, Americans aren't conversant about the science behind health care, since they don't have any.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1301/06/2013

This is anecdotal but I and two friends got flu shots in October and had the flu over Christmas. We're all in our late 40s/early 50s. It was brutal. My doctor said the vaccine hasn't been very effective this year.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1401/06/2013

I and Velma ain't dumb!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1501/06/2013

[quote] 5. Body Ache - 10 per cent

[quote] 6. Fever - 7 per cent.

Fucking bullshit. Fever and body aches are hallmark signs of flu. These people have a cold.

They don't say WTF "Flu Near You" is. It is undoubtedly self-report. I worked as an NP for years and the majority of people claiming to have the flu have a viral upper respiratory illness characterized by sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headache, sinus congestion, nasal catarrh, fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell. And it's a common cold. And people say, "It can't be a cold! I feel so terrible!" Yes it can be. A cold can make you utterly miserable. You're tired, coughing, snotting, headachy, you have head fullness and your chest hurts. That doesn't make it the flu. It could be bronchitis. But bronchitis isn't the flu either.

Influenza is a specific illness and it's not a cold, bronchitis or pneumonia or strep throat. You can come down with any of these illnesses and have flu as well, but if the two least reported symptoms are fever and body ache, it's not the flu.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1701/06/2013

I had the flu on New Year's. finally over it. Dr. gave me Tussionex, which is like nectar from the gods.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1801/06/2013

The shot only covers three strains

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 1901/06/2013

I just got over something nasty. My throat was so sore, I couldn't swallow (no, I'm not a whore darlin), I had a 102 fever, I had chills, I was cold, then hot, then cold, sweating all over the place. I wanted someone to kill me. I have a cold in my chest now. No fever though. Maybe I had a low-grade flu? Everyone was sick around me over the holiday. I don't know what the fuck I had, but it was horrible. I haven't had a cold in years.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2001/06/2013

I got a flu shot in October. Got the flu last week, ended up calling in Wed, Thu and Fri. It was brutal. Still struggling, but much better.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2201/06/2013

[quote] Got the flu last week, ended up calling in Wed, Thu and Fri.

Pity. Some of us had that time off.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2301/06/2013

R21= Tinhatter. Like Big Pharma pays people to post on Datalounge.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2401/06/2013

r23, please go fall into an outhouse pit.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2501/06/2013

So ERs are being swamped by people with bad colds and those whose shots didn't cover the active strain?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2601/06/2013

Those percentages for the symptoms listed above are ridiculously low for the actual flu. I agree that a lot of people who think they have the flu actually have a bad cold.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2701/06/2013

My partner gets an annual flu shot, I don't. He's had the flu almost every year we've been together, I've had it maybe once. I'm not saying they don't work but I wonder how much they really help.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2801/06/2013

Well R28, I had a really bad flu in 2000. I've gotten a flu shot every year after and haven't contracted the flu, or even a cold.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 2901/06/2013

[all posts by right wing shit-stain # a removed.]

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3001/06/2013

Same here. I've worked for a company that's provided free flu shots for 13 years now, and in that time I have never gotten the flu. I used to always get it.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3101/06/2013

If you get the shot and later contract the flu, your symptoms will be much milder.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3201/06/2013

[quote]I love the big pharma shits on here, pushing their bullshit vaccine.

I agree, it's all about crowd control. Fear!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3301/06/2013

I've never heard of anyone having the flu who didn't have fever and body aches. It would be like having strep throat but without the sore throat part.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3401/06/2013

[quote]Flu shots kill. Avoid.

True. But in much smaller numbers than the flu.

Life is a gamble.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3501/06/2013

Is that original article even legit? It contains a number of typos and glaring grammatical errors. "...the CDC reports vaccine's were effective four about 60 percent for all age groups combined." I mean, seriously!?!? There are at least two things obviously wrong with that phrase.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3601/06/2013

I've gotten a flu shot every year for the past 30 years, and I haven't gotten the flu during that entire time. I get a few colds now and then -- and they are generally pretty mild -- but no flu.

In the last six years, I've also increased my Vitamin D level significantly.

I am no apologist for Big Pharma, because I think its mania for pill-pushing is driven more by the desire for profit than the public's well-being. However, the flu vaccine appears to work for me.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3701/06/2013

Have it right now. Hit me thursday evening. Sore throat is for sure. I've been wallowing at home ever since. Now I have to venture our to return a movie. At least I can book off work tomorrow.

It's a medium flu to me. I've been sicker and also had "easier" flus. But it's the illest I've been in ages so I guess I was due.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3801/06/2013

I have the same story as R38, except it hit me Thursday morning. It does seem to be a medium strain, just seems to be more widespread. I'm worried that it may linger the rest of this week...

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 3901/06/2013

So it's still ok to get the shot?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4001/06/2013

I don't feel so good!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4101/06/2013

Few who use the word flu actually have influenza.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4201/06/2013

One of my online tricks is an ER nurse and told me this morning that it's really serious. He said a 45 year old woman with no other medical issues died last week!!

WTF?!? How does someone die from the flu at only 45?!?! Maybe it really is gonna be bad. He also said my flu shot will not protest me from getting it, but will help it to last longer.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4301/06/2013

Should r40 get the shot?

Let's vote.

I say yes, as the flu season lasts into April

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4401/06/2013

He could nurse me back to health.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4501/06/2013

I might have to leave my partner for R41.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4601/06/2013

I had both the flu and pnemonia about a month ago (forgot to get a shot this year). Haven't been so sick in years. Had to go to a doc-in-the-box because my regular physician is well-nigh impossible to see on short notice, and the doctor I saw there said they were seeing over 10 flu cases a day.

[quote]Dr. gave me Tussionex, which is like nectar from the gods.

Yes ma'am!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4701/06/2013

Actually R45 most of the people who died in 1918-19 were otherwise healthy people in the prime of their lives. The strong immune response was what killed them. A "cytokine storm" that destroyed healthy tissue along with the influenza virus.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4801/06/2013

" I'M JAN BREWER'S GUNT MASSUES! "

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 4901/06/2013

Flu, my ass.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5001/06/2013

That's freaky, r48. So the weak had the advantage in that one? You just never can out-guess Mother Nature or evolution.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5101/06/2013

{quote]Three our of four people

Oh dear

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5201/06/2013

" {quote]Three our of four people

Oh dear "

oh dear.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5301/06/2013

r52

Oh dear indeed

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5401/06/2013

If everyone had a gun, no one would be attacked by the flu!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5501/06/2013

In case this wasn't posted, here's the Lancet metaanalysis from 2011.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5601/06/2013

Oh, dear...oh, dear.....oh, dear.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5701/06/2013

Forsythia. Big pharma doesn't want you to know that one.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5801/07/2013

What about the children?

Oh. Never mind. I see.

THEY'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 5901/07/2013

Fuck the flu shot!!

I had that damn flu mist thing up my nose and the next day i was sick as a dog.

Up until that point I had not gotten the flu or even a cold for the past decade.

Fever, chills, aches, fatigue, chills, the whole shebang. It took me a week to get over it.

Fuck the doc who insisted that I get it.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6001/07/2013

I took care of a handicapped relative for ten years and she had to get a flu shot. I got one too, just so I didn't bring into the house and be out of commission for a week. She passed this year, but I still got one. Not had the flu all these years.

Last weekend I stayed at my life long friend's house for New Year's. We went everywhere together, all over NYC, the movies, a Broadway show. My last day he starts coughing. Next day he's out all this week, just going back to work tomorrow after a nasty bout. I felt fine.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6101/07/2013

I came down with the flu Wednesday night. Hit me like a ton of bricks after getting home from seeing a play. I had just been on a plane the day before and the man across the aisle was coughing and wheezing. He finally put on a mask but obviously not soon enough. Anyway, luckily I got tamiflu right away and by Friday the worst--feeling like I wanted to die-- was over. I went through 36 hrs of absolute hell though. Still feel draggy and not up to snuff. Unfortunately I have to start back to work on Tuesday.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6201/07/2013

[quote]About 127 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed this year from the 15 million doses produced for this season.

That's a neat trick.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6301/07/2013

[quote]They say you can get this flu even if you get the flu shot, so why bother?

Back in fall of 2003, I got a flu shot for the upcoming flu season, and guess what? I was sick 3 different times that winter! It was totally worthless and I never bothered getting one again. I didn't get a flu shot this season, and I didn't sick at all even though I was around family members who caught this nasty flu.

I think it's all luck of the draw.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6401/07/2013

Can the posters who haven gotten sick post what city or state you are in? I'm curious to see if the flu is scattered about or more concentrated into one specific area.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6501/07/2013

R65 The article in OP's post says 41 states reported cases. So basically, it's in almost every state.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6601/07/2013

Thank you, R66.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6701/07/2013

r16 only if it includes you and your loved one. The herd does need trimming and the most despicable ought to be first.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6801/07/2013

damn

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 6901/07/2013

r64, you probably didn't have the actual flu virus, but very bad colds.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7001/07/2013

R70 Wrong. Each time I was sick, I had fever, chills, and bodyaches. You don't get those with a cold.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7101/07/2013

I strongly advised, if you refuse to get your flu shot, do at least sit down and watch "Contagion."

Forsythia.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7201/07/2013

For the last time, for all of you who claim you got the flu despite getting the flu shot, most likely it wasn't the flu you had, rather a nasty cold or some other upper respiratory bug. It's possible to have aches, pain, and fever with a bad cold. In the remote chance that it was the flu, just remember that the vaccine is not 100% effective but that it can help to reduce flu symptoms. And for those of you claiming you got the flu from the mist, well, the mist is a live virus, so it's possible to get a mild version of the flu from that. Common sense, people. Common sense.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7301/07/2013

I have gotten a flu shot every year since 2000, after being sick with the flu/bronchitis for 6 weeks. This year I didn't. My own fault. I am scared to death, everyone around me is coughing and I just keep washing my hands.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7401/07/2013

I've seen the Flu shot kill elderly when they came down with the Flu anyway. R8 is correct.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7601/07/2013

Chicago not sick and I haven't seen any sick people either (although they could be medicating).

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7701/07/2013

R39 here, in NY. Just coughing up a storm now, but the worst is over.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7801/07/2013

41/50 = 82%

That leaves 18% of states not effected. And which states. The top 11 states, in population, are enough to elect a president with a majority.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 7901/07/2013

Michigan. Flu cases up 40x over this same time last year.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8001/07/2013

I have a feeling if OP could do it, he would vaccinate everyone by force.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8101/07/2013

Unless they hit the exact strain rather precisely, the flu shot is useless. I'm surprised they say only 18 have died. I think we've had more deaths than that just in my town.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8201/09/2013

NO it is not too late to get the flu shot!!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8301/09/2013

I'll get one of CVS cuts the price to under $20.

Otherwise I'll take my chances.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8401/09/2013

If you have health insurance, Obamacare requires that you be able to get a seasonal flu shot from your doctor without a co-pay.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8501/09/2013

Also in NYC sick since last Wednesday.

I had a flu shot - I always do - so either it's relatively mild flu or an unrelated respiratory infection. But it sure does suck, and I have all the symptoms associated with flu, just not full blown.

I haven't been sick since October, 2010.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8601/09/2013

R75. It's not too late but it takes approximately two weeks for you to build up immunity after the vaccination.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8701/09/2013

I heard today that if you get the shot but catch the flu before the two weeks required for the vaccine to kick in, the flu won't be so bad.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8801/09/2013

Two weeks is the standard answer but you could be up and running in a week to ten days after the shot.

The sneezing and coughing and absences in LA has been incredible. Not at all scientific but at my local Walgreens, their cold remedy section looked like it had been looted.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 8901/09/2013

Going to the dr. tomorrow. The earliest he could get me in, overwhelmed with patients. New York City. Got the flu shot back in October but started symptoms last week and continuing up to today with no sign of relief. Milder than those around me, perhaps because I got the shot. Want to check to see if this is a secondary infection developing or if there is a need for some sort of antiviral drug I can take.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9001/09/2013

If you actually have the flu, and you're a week into symptoms, you're way past the point where antivirals are going to be effective. Sorry, but you're probably just going to have to ride it out.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9101/09/2013

Well, there's that secondary infection thing to look at.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9201/09/2013

That's more likely to be bacterial. Sorry, I didn't mean to be pedantic. But yes, you should definitely see your PCP.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9301/09/2013

Lies.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9401/09/2013

I've noticed a lot of seniors complaining that the shot gives them the flu but then when you examine how it's given to them, it's no wonder they catch something.

Often they round them up and bus them to larger facility specifically set up to administer the shot. It's all very efficient, they're given numbers, comfortable places to wait, refreshments, etc. But they're still several large groups sharing a confined space. Chances are, several of them already have it and pass it on to some of the others before the shot has qa chance to be effective.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9501/09/2013

My local news just did a story on the flu outbreak and the doctor said that the overwhelming majority of patients who have tested positive for the flu did not get a flu shot. He recommended that people still get a flu shot.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9601/09/2013

If it was really an emergency than they'd give the flu shot away for free. So it isn't really that big a deal.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9701/09/2013

[quote] Chances are, several of them already have it and pass it on to some of the others before the shot has qa chance to be effective.

No. Chances aren't.

Flu shots are given well in advance of any flu cases.

Pretty much anyone can give flu shots nowadays. Even pharmacy techs at Target can give it. There's no reason to move elderly persons from one facility to another facility to give them flu shots.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9801/09/2013

[quote] [R70] Wrong. Each time I was sick, I had fever, chills, and bodyaches. You don't get those with a cold.

1.) yes you can

2.) you can't get influenza three times in one season. Once you get it, you're immune to that strain for the rest of the flu season

3.) you absolutely must notify your DOH and will your body to science if you think you had three separate strains of influenza in one season -- particularly after receiving a flu vaccine,which protects against the strains making the rounds across the globe.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 9901/09/2013

In NY state here. Don't know anyone who's had the flu but there is a bad cold going around. There's also a gastrointestinal bug making the rounds.

Lots of upper respiratory illnesses can give you a fever and make you miserable. Bronchitis. Sinusitis. Laryngitis. Cold. Any of these can lead to pleurisy or pneumonia.

Remember -- sinusitis is a biphasic illness. That means it has two phases. You get over the first phase and start to feel better, then you go through the second phase. It's not "a cold that went away and came back again because I pushed myself too hard." It's Phase One -- respite -- Phase Two. Then the road to recovery is in sight.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10001/09/2013

Tell the truth. How many of you own a thermometer and take your temperature when you are ill?

I think it's probably a higher than normal percentage on datalounge, considering the hypochondria I've seen on this board. You'd be surprised how often I've been told "and I have a fever."

"Oh. What was your temperature?"

"I don't know, but I/my boyfriend/my mother/my sister felt my forehead and it was hot."

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10101/09/2013

Hey I have one, R101!

May I be sick now? OK with you?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10201/09/2013

R100, that sure fits how my illness has progressed. I thought I was fine on Sunday, and then all over again.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10301/09/2013

I had it the first and second week of December and it kicked my ass good. The chills were the worst part of it because I couldn't get warm no matter how many layers I put on or how high I turned up the electric blanket.

The fever lasted for days and left me feeling exhausted afterwards, my congestion wasn't that bad compared to colds and allergies that I have had in the past.

I can easily see this flu as killer for some.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10401/09/2013

R98, if they there to get the shot, then they haven't had it yet. There might be no reason to move elderly people but they do

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10501/09/2013

R97 - it's an emergency, but they aren't dispensing flu shots for free because the CDC is well aware this isn't the flu. They are furiously working on a cure for something I've been told is incurable when treating physical symptoms alone.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10601/09/2013

I am 30, have never had a flu shot before, and can't remember the last time I had the flu (it's possible I've never had it). On average I get a cold once a year, sometimes once every other year and it lasts for about a week each time, though the first three days are the worst and after that it's totally tolerable.

After reading that this is the worst flu season in a decade I chose to get a flu shot just for "insurance" against the illness. The effectiveness of the shot varies year to year but I've read that, so far this year, it appears that 75% of those who got the flu so far were not vaccinated. Last years efficacy was around 60%. The odds aren't a sure thing but given that there's not much else you can do to prevent yourself from getting sick (other than shit like obsessively washing your hands, wearing a face mask when in public, carrying little bottles of purell everywhere, using tissues to turn doorknobs, etc) --the shot is an easier, saner option that at least affords a sense of security.

It does take 2 weeks after you've received the shot for it to become effective.

I don't advocate for or against flu shots but I do like having the option to choose for myself whether I want one.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10701/09/2013

Interesting. It was literally only today that I read the November 2012 NY Times article quoted at R9.

The allegations were backed up by the 2011 Lancet meta-analysis linked at R56:

Influenza vaccines are possibly effective in young and middle-aged adults and ineffective in anyone over 65.

Can you imagine a pharmaceutical firm expecting the FDA to approve a New Drug Application (NDA) for a substance that was, at most, only possibly effective for its primary indication?

Of course, biologicals like the flu vaccine aren't subject to the NDA process.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 10901/09/2013

I don't trust the flu vaccine, so I refuse to get it. Leaking some foreign agent into it would be an extremely efficient way for the government to control the population.

See the New York Blood Center hepatitis vaccine trials of 1978.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11001/09/2013

I smoke a pack of Marlboro Menthol a day and do poppers almost everyday. I'm concerned that this could make me more susceptible to the flu virus (does anyone know?).

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11101/10/2013

So I've been doing a little research on this. The flu predominant this year has been so for the last three years. So I've been vaccinated two out of the three.

Secondly - the biggest impact groups are as usual the very young and the very old.

So common precautions:

Wash hands frequently. If you can't wash, use a hand sanitizer. That's the main route for infection.

Stay out of crowded places if you can. If not sanitize hands frequently.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11201/10/2013

You are probably correct r111, smoking depletes your level of vitamin C (not sure about the poppers--doesn't that increase your heart rate?, don't know much about them but have seen it alot in orgy rooms and the baths) and C is essential to your immune system as I understand. Therefore you are contributing to a lowering/weakening of your immunity/resistance to disease or infection and if you do get something you are slower to recover. Do you have a death wish or something?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11301/10/2013

[quote]Do you have a death wish or something?

What do you mean? I had no way of knowing the flu season was going to be this bad.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11401/10/2013

If you're seriously interested in preserving your immune function, stay off of sugar as well.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11501/10/2013

If you're serious, R111, then yes, I'd say you're lowering your resistance. As R113 pointed out, smoking depletes Vitamin C.

About poppers, IIRC, I read somewhere that at the beginning of the AIDS pandemic there was some concern that amyl nitrite might be causing the immunosuppression. But I don't know if anything ever came of that, no pun intended.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11601/10/2013

My anecdotal experience with colds and flu and cigarette smoking:

I usually went 3 or 4 years between colds when I was still smoking. I think years ago I maybe had the flu once and perhaps bronchitis one time as well. But there would be several years between these events.

I quit smoking coming up on 3 years ago and I have had strep throat twice and several bad colds; no flu though.

My personal opinion is that tobacco somehow had a prophylactic effect to help my body from being infected with the rhinovirus, influenza virus, and streptococcus bacteria.

I will not resume smoking to test this hypothesis, just telling DL what I have experienced.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11701/10/2013

R117, your experience is exactly mine. A lot more colds since I quit smoking five years and six days ago.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11801/10/2013

I've been through that.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 11901/10/2013

OK, sweetie.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 12001/10/2013

Anyone find using a neti pot or NeilMed sinus rinse regularly or when you feel the cold or flu coming on help?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 12101/10/2013

[quote]Anyone find using a neti pot or NeilMed sinus rinse regularly or when you feel the cold or flu coming on help?

You mean, to stop a cold or flu from happening? That's doubtful, but it could possibly help if you do incorporate it into a preventive routine year-round.

As for symptom relief, that probably depends on what your sinuses are like. I have severe allergies and a congenitally blocked maxillary sinus that gets frequent infections. Rinsing has never yielded worthwhile results. But if you have just a little blockage, maybe it would be of more help.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 12301/10/2013

I have the flu as I type this: sore throat, body aches, tiiiiired, stuffed nose, diarrhea. Yay.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 12401/10/2013

Never had a flu shot, never had the flu. Not saying there's a cause-effect relationship there, but I see no reason to mess with things by getting a shot.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 12501/10/2013

I remember the flu epidemic of February 1978. I don't think they had flu shots back then and not only were we all crammed into our dorm, but the big blizzard had hit, so we couldn't even go outside.

We just stayed in and infected each other.

The other epidemic I can recall was the Hong Kong flu of 1968-69. I was a little kid and sicker than a dog. So mom stuffed us with aspirin, something that I now look back on and wonder why why none of us kids got Reyes Syndrome.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 12801/11/2013

In Chicago 8 hospitals were put on bypass and all the hospital spokespeople said that none of it should have happened, because not one of the flu cases was serious enough to warrant a trip the the ER.

So just remember you're crowding legitimately sick people out of the way.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 12901/11/2013

r128, the Swine Flu shot fiasco was earlier than 1978. So immunizations existed before then.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13001/11/2013

R25 That's just luck.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13101/11/2013

How did Hillary Clinton get to the top of the Empire State Building?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13201/11/2013

You're right r130 -- I think Swine Flu shots happened in 1977.

I'm trying to remember when they reintroduced the idea. The mid 1990s? It was around then that nurses started showing up at my job.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13301/11/2013

I remember the Spanish flu of 1918. Of course, I was just a child at the time, but I remember my parents talking about it. I know that my aunt and a couple of our neighbors died. It was a scary time for those of us who lived through it. That's probably why I'm extra careful nowadays about avoiding the flu. I get the shot and stay away from anyone sneezing and coughing. Just last night, my grindr trick showed up and was coughing up a lung. I asked him to leave.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13401/11/2013

So now in my area there's a shortage of the vaccine. It was bonkers out there today. I got one though, right before the real frenzy hit.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13501/11/2013

I got one yesterday at a pharmacy, in response to the media hysteria: "Get a flu shot! It's not too late!! Get one now!!!"

Now they're sold out everywhere, and what's today's headline?

"CDC: Flu vaccine only 62% effective"

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13601/11/2013

27 reported dead in Illinois.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13701/11/2013

62% is better than 0% protection.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13801/11/2013

Eldergay here. I had the flu 50 years ago and was seriously ill for over a month. Since then, I've never gotten it even after taking care of lots of flu-stricken friends. I've also never had a flu shot. One of those nearly killed my mother and I just don't trust them.

Maybe I've been lucky, maybe I have an immunity because of the first terrible illness. Who knows? I'll take my chances.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 13901/11/2013

I didn't get a flu shot this year.

As far as I am concerned, it is not a flu epidemic until it kills enough people to free up some jobs.

If it kills me .. well then, I won't need a job.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14001/11/2013

I did get the flu shot this year (November). Early December, I came down with the flu. I am not saying one thing is related to the other. Anyway, it took 10-12 days to run it's course. There was a stretch there of about 3-4 days when I couldn't even move from my couch unless it was to sip water. Even after I thought it had gone away, a few days later my lymph nodes on my neck were swollen again and my throat was sore.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14101/11/2013

[quote]maybe I have an immunity because of the first terrible illness.

You don't.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14201/12/2013

Perhaps not, VotN, but after 50 years, something must be protecting me. Maybe Q?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14301/12/2013

The neti-pot kook is back again.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14401/12/2013

My sister-in-law got a flu shot and 2 weeks later she got the flu. It lasted more than a week.

Then again, I didn't get a flu shot and I got sick, too. I'm not sure I'm over it yet either.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14501/12/2013

More drama at the pharmacy as I went back to get some vitamins. Apparently, the central CVS pharmacy websites are still making appointments for flu shots even though the local sites are out of the shot. Lots of angry people out there.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14601/12/2013

I got mine mid December. Just walked into the Dupont Circle CVS and had it in less than 10 minutes. No appointment. I was concerned I was getting it kind of late this year but I guess not.

I still have my CVS discount coupon they give you when you get a flu shot. Maybe people should try Safeway - I got a shot there one year and they also gave a discount coupon to shop.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14701/12/2013

So, if you have severe fatigue and a sore throat but no fever, is it the flu?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14801/12/2013

What's the going rate for flu shots this year?

Ten bucks?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 14901/12/2013

Now that everybody is getting a flu shot, washing their hands and staying home if sick, I suspect the flu season will taper off rather quickly.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 15001/12/2013

30 bucks in my area of the DC metro.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 15101/12/2013

US Map of Current flu outbreaks:

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 15201/12/2013

uf. Every state. Widespread.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 15301/12/2013

Um, only bona fide flu gets reported by the CDC as "flu", R154.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 15501/12/2013

Finally got the shot yesterday at the closest Kinney pharmacy (no appointment, no drama, accepted my insurance).

The only time I ever got a flu shot before was during law school, when they scheduled a mass vaccination in a bad year and basically said, "do you want to be sick during FINAL EXAMS?!"

I haven't had the flu since I was a kid, and I feel lucky for that. So hey, it's just a shot in the arm. The far, far, upper arm--I was about to ask if I needed to take off my shirt until the hunky pharmacist rolled it tighter for me.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 15601/12/2013

flue

flugh

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 15701/12/2013

I think you were arm-raped, R156. Kinney is a shoe store.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 15801/13/2013

The flu shot is a scam, as it's always been.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16001/13/2013

Got your number R159.

Woops!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16101/13/2013

The media has picked up on this and is overblowing things as usual with their saturated sky is falling coverage. I went to CVS on Broadway to pick up a script, and a guy came in asking for a flu shot. The pharmacist told him that they were out of vaccine but would be getting a shipment in the morning. He added that there would be an estimated hour wait for the shot. On yahoo news, there was a woman quoted as saying that she needed to get a shot for her kid because so many children are dying. Again, that's just a ridiculous claim to made.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16201/13/2013

I havent gotten the flu in three years and I hope I can keep it up. I swear by vitamin B & C complex. I try to not skip a day of taking it this time of year.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16301/13/2013

I'm 34 and never had the flu except the one year I got a flu shot.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16401/14/2013

idiot ^^

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16501/14/2013

I came in to an email that said if we come in to the office with any flu like symptoms we will be sent home. A doctor's note will be required before we are allowed to return.

That's a switch.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16601/14/2013

All this panic is ridiculous. I live and work NYC. I don't know anyone who's sick, and I don't hear anyone coughing or sneezing in the gym, market, bars, etc. All of my office staff are here today and healthy. NYC is pretty much the center of the world, where anything is possible and everything--for good or for bad-- tilts toward the extreme...so if we don't have it bad, it's tough to believe that Palookaville has so many flu-riddled people. Just where are all of these sick people? I'm just not seeing this.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16701/14/2013

"NYC is pretty much the center of the world, where anything is possible and everything--for good or for bad-- tilts toward the extreme.."

Welcome, visitor from 1986!

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16801/14/2013

R167 clearly lives in an imaginary New York City, certainly not the one I live in.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 16901/14/2013

Here's the thing that emerges from all the media blathering:

The main impacts are on the very young and the very old, both communities with either underdeveloped or compromised immune systems.

That said, you'll always have outliers within the 18-60 range that drop dead, probably because of other undetected issues that are complicated by the flu.

Another nugget that emerged - of the 1,000 plus in MA and RI who allegedly have the flu, only 1/3 of them test positive for it. The rest it's something else entirely.

In essence if you employ common sense strategies even if you don't get vaccinate you probably won't get sick.

Employ frequent hand washing/sanitizing. That's the main route for most viral infections to enter the body.

If you're really terrified wear a mask.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 17001/14/2013

I don't know anyone in Chicago with the flu. I think it's hype.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 17101/14/2013

They are handing out scripts at CVS?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 17201/14/2013

For which TV shows, r172?

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 17301/14/2013

I'm getting paranoid about going out of my house with all this flu shit going on, the TV warning of an "out of control epidemic" etc.

But I have to go out into the world to get food. So I bought some gloves for my hands and I've put a pump bottle of hand sanitizer in the car. The steering wheel of the car can harbor all sorts of germs from Wal-Mart! Clean it with a bleach disinfectant wipe!

I don't go near coughing people and I don't touch my face or mouth or eyes or nose at all until I've wiped my hands with a hanky saturated with 96% rubbing alcohol.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 17501/16/2013

I was required together the flu shot at work back when they first came out a few decades ago. I worked in a hospital and we were told that health care personnel who were infected with the flu were undoubtedly going to infect patients before we even showed symptoms. Since we were a huge university hospital known for doing high risk surgery and for having lots of AIDS patients, we had to get it.

If you tried to get out of it, they simply called you right off the unit and had you go down to employee health and wait with others to get the shot. This was something you didn't want, because other people had to cover your patients while you were gone. They would be pissed at you for adding to their workload and you would get behind in your work, because nobody was going to do things like change dressings and give treatments to your patients. You'd still have to do that when you got back. I learned to get my flu shot during my lunch hour. It was free, BTW.

I guess hospital workers can't be forced to get shots nowadays. But I get my flu shot every year. I had the Hong Kong flu in 68 when I was a kid and never forgot it. I got sooo sick so very fast. And my parents weren't home, so I was alone. Good thing I'd never heard of the Spanish flu when I was a kid or I would have been sure I was dunfaw.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 17601/17/2013

Some healthcare workers resist flu shots

By Anna Gorman | 5:07 p.m.

As flu cases increase in California, hospital administrators are grappling with whether to compel doctors, nurses and other medical staff to get vaccinated.

by Get your flu shots, people!reply 17701/18/2013
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