Vaccines Are Iffy, so Do 1 More Thing to Resist the Flu
I was driving the other morning, listening to Forum -- one of my favorite radio interview shows. The topic of the day was the flu.
The Flu! After a few noisy coughs, I leaned right in, because pretty much everyone I know either has the flu, had the flu or is about to get the flu.
"It's very bad this year," the two doctor guests on KQED agreed, both experts in the flu and flu vaccines. And California is especially hard hit, said host Michael Krasny.
Health officials throughout the state report a skyrocketing number of flu cases: 1,646 so far, compared with 451 at a similar point last year. In San Diego County alone, there have been five recent deaths of flu victims under 65.
I checked the Centers for Disease Control website later that day, and sure enough, the whole country is suffering from increasing cases of the flu and all the suffering and medical bills that follow.
"Influenza activity increased sharply again in this week's FluView report," reads the warning in their latest online report. "The number of jurisdictions experiencing high activity went from 21 states to 26 states."
One of the problems is the lack of effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine, recommended highly by the CDC for everyone over six months old. It's only 32 percent effective, Krasny reported. It's not a secret. Neither doctor refuted him.
Thirty-two percent effective is better than nothing, the experts said. The CDC agrees. They consider taking the flu vaccine as the single most important thing you can do to prevent the flu.
Really? The most important thing a person can do?
Krasny asked the doctors about prevention. "We know about hand-washing. But what else?"