It may make for clickbait to marginalize the flu , but it comes at a cost

I don’t want to lecture, but I feel like this has to be said. As of this week, 45 children have died of influenza-related illness so far this season. Nineteen of those deaths occurred in the first full week of this year.

Influenza is widespread in every state in the US except Alaska, Hawaii, Alabama, and Georgia. In the latter three, it’s still “regional”.

Pneumonia and influenza accounted for about 8% of all deaths occurring during the week ending December 27, 2014. That’s above the epidemic threshold for week 52 of a year.

More than 5.5% of all people seeing their health care providers did so for influenza like illness in the week ending January 3, 2015.

I see headlines telling people the vaccine is “only 23% effective”. I’d like a list of all medicines people take, diets they go on, behaviors they change, devices they employ, and procedures they undergo which are better than 23% effective. I’m willing to wager the number is quite low.

This country lost its mind not long ago because a single person died of Ebola in Texas. I’m not minimizing that loss, nor am I advocating for losing our minds over this. But I’d like to see the media do some responsible reporting on the actual dangers from influenza and the productive (yes, still productive) things we can do about it.


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