Influenza 2018-19

December 1, 2018

The current flu season has just started to make itself noticed in Connecticut.

For those of you who use Influenzinum, now would be the time to start.

I had the impression, in the last two years, that I was getting a few more calls about the flu than usual, and I wondered if the preparation of Influenzinum was “working” as well as it had always seemed to.  But this was just a suspicion, as I wasn’t asking people who called if they had used it or not.

This year I will pay more attention to trying to correlate Influenzinum usage with flu-like illness during the flu season.  Unfortunately, there are lot of viral illnesses that look like flu but really aren’t.  The only way to know is to do an actual test for the flu virus, and so the question of the efficacy of Influenzinum may be difficult to assess.

We don’t know yet how “effective” the current vaccine will be, although certain mathematical models are predicting a relatively low efficacy, as was also true last year.  From a public health perspective, it is thought that vaccine coverage (how many people get vaccinated) may be more important than the actual efficacy of the vaccine itself.

Because of the very large number of people who are susceptible to the flu, and who actually get the flu, even a low-efficacy vaccine may still help a large number of people.

My usual recommendations have not changed.  Unless you have previously reacted negatively to the vaccine, I have no objections to its administration, with the caveat that vaccine from  single-dose vials, which do not contain mercury in the form of Thimerosal, are preferable.

Vitamin D remains important.  A recent article, available at , which appeared in the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in May 2017 suggests that the maintenance dose for adults should be 8000 Units per day, significantly higher than previous recommendations.

All my other prior suggestions regarding hygiene and common sense, good nutrition, etc., remain in place, and can be found in the flu article on my website.