flu season

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A new Illinois statute aims to boost flu shot rates among healthcare workers by making it harder for employees to decline the vaccine.

Lawmakers say this is important in light of last year’s flu season that killed more people than car crashes and drug overdoses. But some on the frontlines of public health worry that a law that’s not enforced will have little effect.

Jeffrey Shaman: Using Math And Biological Science To Predict Flu Outbreaks

Dec 8, 2014
Columbia University Medical Center

Just as weather forecasting has improved over recent decades, the accuracy of forecasting influenza and other infectious diseases is expected to improve, says Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, associate professor of environmental health sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, who led a team that placed first in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Predict the Influenza Season Challenge.”

We may be in for a nasty flu season. That's the warning out today from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is worried because the most common strain of flu virus circulating in the United States is one called H3N2. In previous years, H3N2 strains have tended to send more people to the hospital than other strains — and cause more deaths, especially among the elderly, children and people with other health problems.

Don't Forget Flu

Nov 14, 2014

Ebola virus has captured the attention of the world since the outbreak in West Africa began months ago, so far claiming nearly 5,000 lives.

Closer to home, seasonal influenza is on its way, bringing brief misery to some people but serious complications or even death to tens of thousands of people in the United States each year.

The symptoms of the flu are familiar: fever, chills, cough, congestion, feeling very, very tired. If you're a healthy adult under 65, you'll most likely recover in a week or two.

But for those older than 65, things can get worse fast, says Dr. H. Keipp Talbot, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.

Brace yourselves: Flu season is coming. And along with the coughing, fevers and aches, you can expect a lot of unreliable or downright wrong information about the flu vaccine.

Many people underestimate the health risks from flu. Thousands of Americans die from flu-related complications in a typical year, and last season's H1N1 strain hit young adults particularly hard.