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Flu the coop

Posted Friday, February 15, 2008, at 2:21 PM

Well, I went home sick a week ago today, and I missed my normal Saturday afternoon shift working on the Sunday paper. I was back at work Monday, but it's been an extremely busy week, especially for someone who was just coming back to speed. I feel much better, but I'm still coughing and wheezing and I think my co-workers are getting a little tired of me (provided they weren't already).

There's been a lot of illness going around, and a story I just read on Associated Press shed light on some of it.

First, some background: there are many different strains of flu, and it's apparently ineffective to try to put all of them into single vaccine. Because of the long production schedule for flu vaccine, officials must try a year or more in advance to predict which strains of flu will be a problem during a given season, and each year's vaccine cocktail is mixed up based on that recipe. That's got to be a difficult job.

Well, according to the AP story, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the creators of this year's cocktail picked wrong, and missed a strain that has turned out to be quite common this season. Even if you had a flu shot (I did), it only prevents 40 percent of the specific kinds of flu that are prevalent this year. That's why 44 states reported widespread flu activity this week.


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I speak and write often on the subject of vaccines, so I see thousands of articles a year.

It is often parroted that "(influenza) disease kills 36,000 Americans every week during flu season." We should all know of many, many people dropping like flies from the flu if this statistic is true, and the wailing and gnashing of teeth should be terrifying itself. We don't, because the number 36,000 isn't correct. All one has to do is go to the CDC web site, the definitive source that collects our nations data on death and disease, to know the exact numbers.

National Vital Statistics Reports. Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2003, Volume 53 Number 15 2003

Deaths from influenza = 1.805

http://origin.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvs... (p.16)

National Vital Statistics Reports. Deaths: Final Data for 2002, Volume 53 Number 5 2002

Deaths from influenza = 747

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr53... (p.31)

National Vital Statistics Reports. Deaths: Final Data for 2001, Volume 52 Number 3 2001

Deaths from influenza = 257

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52... (p.31)

In fact, the largest YEARLY number of deaths I could find in recent years was 1,805. ( approximately .00000601 of the U.S. population) What happen in the press is either sensational journalism at its best, fear mongering, or the authors are simply propagating inaccurate information for whatever reason.

Let's get away from the statistics for a moment and talk common sense. The most absurd, "myth" the vaccinators try to debunk is that "the flu shot will give you the flu." Randomly ask five people if they, or anyone they know, have come down with the flu immediately after the flu shot. Take that information in. It is only audacity that allows so called "experts" to write off these millions of people who clearly did get the flu from the flu shot. Whether the virus was killed improperly, or the fact that the shot itself suppressed their immune system and made them more susceptible, their real, personal experiences weigh far more heavily than unsubstantiated theories about how the flu vaccine couldn't possibly give you the flu.

The intentional writing styles in the media also deserve attention. Listen to the overtones in phrases like "the dreaded U.N. avian flu, as feared..." "that could kill hundreds of millions" "superbug feared globally" "protecting ourselves against the current carnage." The subject of getting the vastly benign flu bug doesn't deserve this kind of hype. I'd worry more about the laboratories and scientists than I would anything nature produces.

So how effective is their supposedly life-saving concoction? An independent researcher last year concluded:

"In children under 2 years inactivated vaccines had the same field efficacy as placebo, and in healthy people under 65 vaccination did not affect hospital stay, time off work, or death from influenza and its complications… Evidence from systematic reviews shows that inactivated vaccines have little or no effect on the effects measured... The large gap between policy and what the data tell us (when rigorously assembled and evaluated) is surprising…. Reasons for the current gap between policy and evidence are unclear, but given the huge resources involved, a re-evaluation should be urgently undertaken... The flu virus mutates (changes it's structure) yearly. It's guesswork to produce a vaccine during the previous year against strains which might be prevalent during the next year's 'flu season' ... It's effects (influenza) are largely temporary and mild."

Jefferson, T BMJ 2006;333:912-915 (28 October), Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/...

In other words, the flu vaccine is next to worthless, unnecessary, and there's no justification for current mass vaccination policies.

I simply suggest for people to get educated on vaccines.

www.novaccine.com is a great place to start.

Dan Schultz, DC

President of World Association

for Vaccine Education (WAVE)

15694 S US 27

Lansing, MI 48906

(517) 490-7941

positivelydan@aol.com

-- Posted by positivelydan on Tue, Feb 19, 2008, at 8:33 PM

Tylenol Severe Cold is good stuff. I fought it for a few days, but when I went to the doctor, I had bronchitis on the verge of pneumonia. The 102 fever and burning sensation in my chest when I coughed were the two symptoms that convinced me to see the doc. Two weeks later and still coughing some, especially if I get too hot.

-- Posted by Jacks4me on Tue, Feb 19, 2008, at 11:33 AM

Advil and Delsym cough syrup are good too. If nothing seems to help, then after a week of so get to the Doctor!

-- Posted by puppydinks on Sun, Feb 17, 2008, at 5:04 PM

Tylenol Cold worked for me also.My two daughters had the flu and strep last week and my husband had strep which I think developed into the flu.It's everywhere. They had to have prescriptions to clear theirs up. As for me I couldn't be sick for taking care of everyone else. I did have the flu shot. I do think I had a touch of the flu though.

-- Posted by christiangirl on Sat, Feb 16, 2008, at 8:59 PM

Tylenol Severe Cold and Sinus is my hero. So far I been functioning pretty well with it.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Sat, Feb 16, 2008, at 12:14 PM

With as much interaction as I have with groups, I fee like a ticking bomb. Just left the Maury county area yesterday, which has closed schools due to the flu, Yikes!

Luckily avoided a flight this coming week, but the opportunities to catch this abound. I would like to dig a hole for the next few weeks but can't do that either.

Probably will just pig out on all these cold and flu vitamins and hope for the best.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Feb 16, 2008, at 7:46 AM

I had it over a week ago, my husband has been trying to "Get Rid of it for the past 4 or 5 days". : (

-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Sat, Feb 16, 2008, at 12:38 AM


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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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