Midnight In The Desert — flu

Influenza B is trying to escape our vaccine

Posted by K R on

Influenza B is trying to escape our vaccine

The Flu feels like one big thing. You get your Flu Shot to protect against The Flu during Flu Season. But part of what makes influenza so dangerous is that it’s an astonishingly diverse virus. Though we’re only aware of it for a few months each year, influenza is constantly circling the world, and as it goes it accumulates new mutations in its genome. Sometimes these mutations don’t change anything substantive, but sometimes they give the virus a survival advantage. And when that happens, the mutation can quickly spread—the older viruses don’t survive as well, so the new, mutated ones...

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Arizona sees rise in flu, pneumonia deaths as season continues

Posted by K R on

Arizona sees rise in flu, pneumonia deaths as season continues

AZ state health officials say there have been at least 523 pneumonia and flu deaths in Arizona so far during the current flu season, adding to over 200 more than at the same time last season. The state Department of Health Service says many flu-related deaths are due to complications of flu infections such as pneumonia and that death certificates infrequently list influenza itself as the cause of death. The department's latest weekly report says two of the flu-associated deaths so far this flu season were of children. The report covers Feb. 11-17, which is flu season's seventh week. There...

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The Flu Shot Is Only 36 Percent Effective This Year

Posted by K R on

The Flu Shot Is Only 36 Percent Effective This Year

After a few months of hand-wringing over the flu vaccine’s 10 percent effectiveness against one strain of flu in Australia, we finally have a number for how it’s doing in the US this season. It’s 36 percent effective at preventing flu among people in general, and 59 percent effective in children under 8. These numbers aren’t great, but they’re a heck of a lot better than zero. Quick facts to share with your local bellyacher: The flu shot is free with insurance (including at in-network pharmacies), and side effects are rare and usually mild. Even if you’re young and healthy...

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Flu season still getting worse; now as bad as 2009 swine flu

Posted by K R on

Flu season still getting worse; now as bad as 2009 swine flu

The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. A government report out Friday shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That ties the highest level seen in the U.S. during swine flu in 2009. And it surpasses every winter flu season since 2003, when the government changed the way it measures flu. “I wish that there were better news this week, but almost everything we’re looking at is bad news,”...

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Days before the opening ceremony, serious health concerns hit the Winter Olympics

Posted by K R on

Days before the opening ceremony, serious health concerns hit the Winter Olympics

The buzz leading up to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea has been mostly negative and having nothing to do with sports themselves. Whether it was Olympians preempting success by saying they wouldn’t visit the White House or North Korea acting up or horror stories from Olympics past connected to the Larry Nassar scandal, the press has not been positive. You can now add serious health concerns just days in advance of the opening ceremony to this list of storylines. USA Today reported that 1,200 security guards have been sidelined after concerns were raised of spreading Norovirus, this after...

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