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Virus Season

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As we shiver in the northern hemisphere, holiday cheer isn’t the only thing in the air—there are also flu, cold, and other contenders just waiting to hit a mucous membrane. Revere questions H1N1 terminology on Effect Measure, citing “10,000 deaths, 47 million infections and over 200,000 hospitalizations” caused by the virus, with the “heart of flu season” still to come. On The White Coat Underground, PalMD reports more CDC data, revealing a “death rate from influenza in American Indians/Native Alaskans” that is almost four times the rate of other ethnicities. Rhinovira are also out in force these days, but if you haven’t heard, don’t reach for the Zicam nasal spray—unless you want to lose your sense of smell. Scicurious on Neurotopia shows us a clear-cut study on Zicam which demonstrates that it causes serious and possibly irreversible damage to olfactory tissue. But fret not, snifflers, there are other ways to combat your cold—although Janet D. Stemwedel on Adventures in Ethics and Science admits, “cramming the spout into my nostril was kind of uncomfortable.”

Links below the fold.