Comments

  1. #1 sailor
    October 20, 2009

    When I started getting flue shots quite a few years back, I was interested to know if they did any good. Were thy effective? did they save lives?
    This information was surprisingly hard to track down and sort out. It did eventually seem that those that had a flue shot were 50% less likely to be hospitalized for the kind of symptoms that are associated with flue, but there were no double blind studies to really sort things out. It is possible that more affluent and educated people get flu shots and may be less susceptible for other reasons. We have to take a lot of this on faith.
    I have just had my flu shot by the way, but if anyone knows of such good studies do please post them.

  2. #2 Miss Cellania
    October 20, 2009

    If you have the opportunity to get a vaccine, for either kind of flu, get it. You don’t want to go through this. Two weeks later, and I’m still not recovered from the flu.

  3. #3 Anonymous
    October 20, 2009

    Regarding Flu Vaccine efficacy see: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2040

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    October 20, 2009

    Miss Cellania, I’m really sorry to hear that. It goes away eventually… By the way, that’s a symptom. If you know somebody who says they had the flu, but they got sick on Monday and were back at work on Thursday and don’t feel sick at all by Saturday, it wasn’t likely the flu.

    Sailor: There is quite a bit out there but I admit it is hard to find. In any event, it is complex. The current best guess is that in an average year people between the ages of something like 12 and 65 who are not immune compromised or otherwise in a risky group have a rate of between 80 and 95 percent suppression of serious flu symptoms if they are immunized. In older and otherwise at risk groups the numbers are lower, like 50% or more, but the number of people who don’t develop some of the more deadly complications (including death) is markedly lower.

    This is mostly known through epidemiological studies across the population. There may be some biases in the data inherent to who gets the flu shot vs. not and other factors but they are probably not strong. It is helpful to note that the theory here is strong.

  5. #5 sailor
    October 21, 2009

    Thanks Anonymous (good link an links therefrom) and Greg.
    As I thought the evidence is there, but pretty piss-poor. I shall continue to get flu shots anyway because once I got a flu bad enough that in the US I would have been in a hospital. Luckily I was on my boat in a less developed country so a doctor kindly came out and put a re hydration drip in me on board. He gave me antibiotics in case bacteria had become involved, and all was fine.

  6. #6 SQB
    October 21, 2009

    … once I got a flu bad enough that in the US I would have been in a hospital. Luckily I was on my boat in a less developed country …

    Could you please expand on that? I do not live in the US, so I don’t know the state of their hospitals, but I’d have thought they’d at least have kept you alive.

  7. #7 Texas Reader
    October 21, 2009

    SQB – in my experience you can’t get i.v. fluids anywhere EXCEPT a hospital in the u.s. The little neighborhood clinics like Primacare won’t give you i.v. fluids and neither will your dr so you are forced to go to the emergency room. I have been to the E.R. for i.v. fluids once, and was sent home hours later (i.e. i was not admitted, just stayed in the E.R.) I don’t know the reason but it drives me nuts to have to go to the E.R. and expose myself to other sick people just to get i.v. fluids.

  8. #8 Sailor
    October 21, 2009

    SQB Texas Reader has it right. And it is a reflection on the cost of health care in the USA. Had I gone to hospital, I doubt I would have got out for less than a thousand dollars or three. Where as in a small less developed country I got a house (or in this case a boat) visit, with an IV and antibiotics, I did not have to stir myself, and the cost was about $40US.
    The USA has good medical care but it certainly is not geared to minimizing cost.

  9. #9 Chuck
    October 21, 2009
  10. #10 Greg Laden
    October 21, 2009

    Chuck: Very funny. Or, are you suggesting that anyone take that article seriously

    Besides, that article does not say fifty percent. It says, again and again, zero percent. It says the vaccine has no effect whatsoever.

  11. #11 SQB
    October 21, 2009

    Thank you for the explanations. I didn’t take insurance and costs in consideration. I understand why health care reform could be in order.

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