Influenza 12/6/2014

December 6, 2014

There is not much to report since the last alert.

This year’s epidemic has not begun in the Northeast yet, but you can see from the CDC flu site, especially the map at the bottom of the page, that flu is widespread in parts of the southern US and the next several weeks will certainly be showing flu advancing around the country.

There are concerns about this year’s vaccines, as are described here.  Although the future is difficult to predict, a worse than usual season is certainly possible.  The CDC is warning physicians to be alert to flu-like illness and to consider prescribing anti-viral drugs (Tamiflu, for example) to young infants and anyone who is immunocompromised.  Although the effects of such medications are relatively minor in healthy persons (an illness which is shortened by one day), in the immunocompromised population the drug can be lifesaving.  For a clear description of what constitutes the immunocompromised population, please see this article

So, as usual, during the epidemic practice good sense (avoid crowded places where exposure to people with flu is more likely), use good hygiene (hand washing in particular, sneezing into your elbow rather than your hands), stay up on your vitamin D (5000 – 10,000 units a day during the season) unless you know that your levels are already in the high normal range), good nutrition, adequate sleep, etc.

The flu article on my website is still relevant, although I have not updated it since 2009’s swine flu scare.