Flu Season Not Quite Over. Including here in Virginia

We have all heard the arguments before: flu shot or no flu shot? Does it even work? If it doesn't prevent you from getting the flu, will it make the flu easier to deal with? Well, before 2 weeks ago, I was a staunch advocate for the flu shot. Swore by it. And why not? If memory serves, I have had the flu shot consistently for the past 20 years and I have NEVER had the actual Flu.  Sure I had severe colds that I swore could not have possibly been any less powerful than the flu, but tested negative each time. That is until a week ago. Yep, after the wonderful experience of having an extra-large cotton swab shoved up my nose, the doctor delivered the wonderful news, “You tested positive for the flu.”  I responded, "The actual flu?" Yep the real deal. The big virus. The main pain. The TYPE A Flu!! "But I had the shot!"  “Yeah, well, some people get it anyway,” the doctor responded.

So now I must eat crow, swallow my pride and acknowledge to all those folks who said they don't get the shot because it doesn't work that they were right. This time. Note that is 1 in 20 or 5%. So, in my case, the flu shot is 95% effective. Hmm, sounds like pretty good odds. I think I will get the shot this fall again. And, yes, if asked my opinion I will proudly say, "I get the shot every year and have only had the flu 1 time in 20 years!" But l will also say this: the actual flu and a severe cold are VERY different. I will never compare the two again.

So. have we survived flu season? Almost. Winding down they say. So, what happened this year to the shot? That was the very discussion had in Congress just 10 days ago. In case you missed it, here is that compelling discussion about this year’s outbreak:

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Rough Flu Season Gets Attention From Congress

March 09, 2018

What went wrong this flu season? Congress wants to know

An especially rough flu season is winding down but is not over yet. In a House hearing, Oregon RepublicanGreg Waldencalled the flu season severe and deadly. CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat said this season's flu vaccine has only been about 36-percent effective.

Dr. Schuchat argued that vaccination is still better than no vaccination. She noted that the flu virus is ever-changing and often outsmarts immune systems. The flu has claimed around 50-thousand lives this season, including more than one-hundred children.

In a very bad flu season, such as this one, the CDC estimates that flu infections result in as many as 35-million illnesses, about 700,000 hospitalizations…and as many as 56,000 deaths in the United States.

Source:C-SPAN

Visit the State by State flu map here.

Scott Stevens

Scott Stevens

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