Articles on Influenza

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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…
Influenza can be a serious and even life-threatening illness, but most infections are mild and self-limiting. HI TRICIA! 王 圣 捷/Flickr

Worried about the flu season? Here’s the story behind the figures

Today’s reports suggesting a particularly severe flu season could easily be overstating the case. The figures, released by Influenza Specialist Group say there have been more than 20,000 cases of flu nationally…
The pandemic flu virus spread around the world in several waves, causing illness in 20% to 50% of infected people and death in 1% to 5%. British Red Cross/Flickr

World War One’s role in the worst ever flu pandemic

The great influenza pandemic of 1918-19, often called the Spanish flu, caused about 50 million deaths worldwide; far more than the deaths from combat casualties in the World War One (1914-18). In fact…
More than 90% of kids are vaccinated compared with 74% of adults aged over 65 years. Shutterstock

Vaccination isn’t just for kids – a guide for over-65s

We live in an ageing society, with the global median age rising steadily. Australia’s economic viability will increasingly rely on retaining older people in the workforce for longer. This, of course, relies…
Flavour is another thing. Florina_Presse

Ginseng could be an effective way to prevent the flu

Ginseng, the root of the plant Panax ginseng, is one of the most commonly used herbal medicines and is often sold as an over-the-counter remedy for fatigue. Although it has been used by humans for thousands…
Adults usually get around three colds per year. Sergio Alvarez

Health Check: when is ‘the flu’ really a cold?

Most people who think they have the flu, don’t. And some people who think they have a cold, really have the flu. So what is the difference between a cold and the flu? And does it matter? A cold is a mild…
Antivirals Tamiflu and Relenza were stockpiled by governments across the world in response to the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Andrew Wales/Flickr

Tamiflu drug ‘largely ineffective’ in reducing hospitalisation: study

Antiviral drugs are largely ineffective for reducing hospital admissions and complications from influenza, and come with…
H1N1, one of the flu strains circulating this season, disproportionately affects people aged 24 to 64 years. fractalworld/Flickr

Explainer: the 2014 flu vaccine

Influenza affects up to 15% of adults and 30% of children each flu season and early indications suggest we could be facing a severe season. The 2014 seasonal influenza vaccination is available from today…
That crystal ball we ordered? New flu model helps predict future strains. April Mo

Scientists create accurate predictor of the next flu virus

Influenza viruses rapidly evolve in shape, making it hard to develop protective vaccines against them. Despite a great deal of study, scientists have been at a loss to forecast their evolution in any detail…
Around 20,000 chickens were culled in Hong Kong last week after the virus was detected in birds imported from mainland China. Alex Hofford/AAP Image

Explainer: what is H7N9 bird flu?

Australia’s federal Department of Health has advised general practitioners to be on the lookout for potential cases of the H7N9 strain of influenza A, or bird flu, following a spate of deaths in China…
Saved by the bell. NASA/GFSC/Rebecca Roth

School networks will help plan for the next flu pandemic

Lack of exposure to a particular influenza strain means you won’t have had a chance to build up complete immunity. And if the strain spreads easily between people and there is little immunity in communities…
Feeling sorry for yourself? Why not whine about it on social media? No, seriously. William Brawley

Sniffley tweeters help researchers locate flu outbreaks

Twitter has become the latest online tool to be used to monitor the spread of disease. Researchers are looking at whether…

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