Articles on Influenza

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Merry Christmas! www.shutterstock.com

And now for the flu forecast …

What flu season has in store: mostly H1N1 in the north and a three-way split between H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B in the south.
Try to predict the outcome of a single coin toss and you’ll have only a 50-50 chance of being correct. Pauli Antero/Flickr

Why predicting a flu outbreak is like betting on football or flipping a coin

Predicting infectious disease outbreaks is a tricky task to begin with. And it's made harder still by the fact that any individual outcome is subject to unpredictable – or stochastic – effects.
Children in particular experience a multitude of viral illnesses during their early years. MIKI Yoshihito/Flickr

Health Check: when are we most likely to catch viral diseases?

Viruses cause all kinds of infections from relatively mild cases of the flu to deadly outbreaks of Ebola. Clearly, not all viruses are equal and one of these differences is when you can infect others.
Predicting the severity of the flu season based on one data set paints an unnecessarily scary picture. Sabbhat Sabacio Striges/Flickr

Have you noticed Australia’s flu seasons seem to be getting worse? Here’s why

Australia's in the middle of the annual flu season and once again, it's claimed to the worst on record. But why is it that every season seems to outdo previous ones and how bad is this year, really?
Given the increasing number of vaccines recommended for adolescents and adults in Australia, the newly announced initiatives are a very good idea. Wellcome Images/Flickr

New register shows importance of vaccination beyond childhood

Tucked away in the budget papers is an intitiative worthy of applause – the establishment of an adult immunisation register and the expansion of the childhood register to include adolescents.
Cold and flu tablets won’t cure a cold. Flood G./Flickr

The low-down on ‘cold and flu’ tablets

Pharmacies have aisles full of cold and flu tablets. But which product is the best one for you? And will it really help you feel better?
For certain members of the community, catching flu can lead to severe illness or death. Piotr Marcinski

The 2015 flu vaccine – what’s new, who should get it and why

It’s that time of year again when scientists and doctors make predictions about the impending flu season and we must decide whether to go out and get the flu vaccine.
Livestock and farmers most at risk. Cull by Shutterstock

Five things you need to know about bird flu

The UK has just recorded its second outbreak of bird flu in less than three months. At the end of November, the relatively new subtype H5N8 – which was first spotted in late 2009 in China and which has…
If you’re sick, stay at home. Sneeze by Shutterstock

Five common misconceptions about seasonal flu

It’s that time of the year again. You probably think I mean Christmas, but as a virologist the sight of glitter, fairy lights and moulting pine trees immediately makes me think of the flu season. And if…
There is no such thing as an ideal flu shot. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it. Sherry Yates Young/Shutterstock

Even with mismatches flu shots can still keep you from getting sick

On December 3, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Health Alert Network advisory indicating a possible strain mismatch in this year’s vaccine. After the usual brief flurry…
Not all gross: mucus is vital for healthy airways. William Brawley/Flickr

Health Check: what you need to know about mucus and phlegm

We tend to notice mucus only when it’s abnormal and the sticky fluid is expelled from orifices. But actually it’s pretty amazing stuff. Every moment of our lives mucus is protecting our internal organs…
In the US the risk of getting measles or dying from influenza is greater than the risk of getting Ebola. Jaime R Carrero/Reuters

Why you should worry less about Ebola and more about measles

News that a doctor in New York City tested positive for Ebola sparked mandatory quarantine orders for heath workers returning from West Africa in New York and New Jersey last week. The outbreak has killed…

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