Get Your Fucking Flu Shot

Somehow, many people still don’t take the flu seriously. An estimated 80,000 people died from the flu last year in the United States, according to the CDC. For comparison, “In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to 56,000.” The flu vaccine last year was not a fantastic match, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t get the flu shot. It can still lessen the severity of symptoms. As a reminder, flu symptoms can and do lead to death.

My mom even emailed me with a link to this scary article telling me to get a fucking flu shot. Just kidding, she didn’t curse, but she might if I don’t get one soon. Confession: I haven’t gotten my own flu shot yet which is already feeling very reckless of me, but you can count on me getting my fucking flu shot very soon. Short version of the article: guy doesn’t get a flu shot because he mistakenly thinks the flu only affects people very old and very young (has never heard of the 1918 flu pandemic obviously), goes into a coma caused by the flu, is very into his flu shot this year.

Also this guy had never gotten a flu shot before? Totally and completely reckless. Don’t be this guy. You can spread the flu to other people who are much more at risk of serious complications, including death, even if you don’t get sick.

Check out my five part series from last year in which I mentioned that the flu was so bad the CDC postponed their much anticipated How to Prepare for Nuclear War training. I suppose it’s comforting the CDC considers the flu a more pressing threat than the potential for nuclear war, though the world is so dark these days maybe the flu shot isn’t the first thing on your mind. Get one anyway.

Beware the Flu

Beware the Flu, Part Two

Beware the Flu, Part Three

Beware the Flu, Part Four

Beware the Flu, Part Five


Have You Gotten Your Flu Shot?

Scientific American has a great article about vaccinations and herd immunity. Herd immunity refers to “the level of immunity in a population that’s needed to prevent an outbreak from happening.” We all know those people that eschew the flu shot every year because they think it might make them sick, or they claim they never get the flu, or they just plain don’t trust what’s in that needle. I am not going to criticize those people. I am going to let this article do it for me.

What you might not realize is that these vaccination campaigns for flu and other diseases are about much more than your health. They’re about achieving a collective resistance to disease that goes beyond individual well-being—and that is governed by mathematical principles unforgiving of unwise individual choices.

Another point on herd immunity from Second Nexus:

Of course, the average young and healthy person probably has little concern of developing a dangerous side effect of the flu, but the benefits of herd immunity is not even directed at the young and healthy: it is for the more susceptible among us — the pregnant, the very young, the elderly and the immunocompromised. For these people, immunization is crucial, but only if the vast majority of the population is taking part…

hundreds of thousands of people saw hospitals during flu season, and thousands more have died from influenza. This is a reality.

This is not about the vast majority of Americans who will survive the 2017-2018 flu season and subsequent seasons; it is for those who have no decision in whether they get ill or not.

Bill Gates Thinks We Are All Going to Die from Disease

Ok, not all of us. Just a lot of us. Yes, I know it seems like we’re in the middle of a Sim City game where someone has decided it would be fun to unleash multiple hurricanes (not actually a Sim City disaster feature), fires, and floods all at once, but in the spirit of doom, we should also talk about the next pandemic.

According to this article “one of the biggest threats out there is one of the oldest: infectious disease, which can emerge naturally or be human-made, as in a case of bioterrorism.”

Gates has repeatedly stated that he sees a pandemic as the greatest immediate threat to humanity on the planet.

“Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year,” Gates wrote in an op-ed for Business Insider earlier this year. “And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10-15 years.”

Another point to let fester in your mind:

“We are coming up on the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic,” he told Business Insider. “We’ve been fortunately spared anything on that scale for the past 100 years, but it is inevitable that a pandemic strain of equal virulence will emerge.”

Let’s just be grateful we haven’t had to deal with these robot monsters yet. All in good time.


Whisky, Weed to Ward Off Swine Flu

Good news for those who like to imbibe!

A company called Cannabis Science is hoping the FDA will approve its marijuana lozenges for use in children, teens, and adults.  Robert Melamede, the owner of Cannabis Science, believes that marijuana lozenges could help curb deaths from swine flu.

“The approach relies on the principle that the chemicals in marijuana known as cannabinoids have a dampening effect on the immune system. Melamede said doctors may be able to take advantage of this effect to curb the risk of death from the immune system overdrive that resulted in many of the deaths of young adults during the 1918 influenza pandemic — a scenario that some worry could occur once more if swine flu were to become more virulent.”

Both the former CEO of Cannabis Science, Steve Kubby, and his successor, Melamede,  have self-tested the lozenges.  “Within half an hour of taking it, my runny nose, aching muscles and throat congestion are all significantly relieved,” Kubby said, adding that users of the lozenge will not get the “high” or “stoned” effects that come with smoking marijuana.  Kubby and Melamede maintain that the chemical compounds in marijuana could decrease the chance of a “cytokine storm” situation, in which the immune system (especially in young adults) goes into overdrive and causes the lungs to fail.

Of course, Cannabis Science has quite the uphill battle before marijuana lozenges are passed out in school.  And don’t think doctors are about to go advise patients to smoke up if they come down with the flu.

“While marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties are widely accepted as a treatment for glaucoma or arthritis, its use as an antiviral raises eyebrows even among pot-friendly physicians.  “Though it may have some antiviral effects, these have not been proven scientifically,” says Dr. David Allen, a chest surgeon and cannabinoid research scientist from California…

One thing, however, is clear: Smoking marijuana likely will do much more harm than good if you happen to have a respiratory infection — not to mention that smoking anything is damaging to someone with flu-related respiratory ills.”

Marijuana Lozenges for Swine Flu?

In other news, Russian soccer fans are being encouraged to drink Welsh whisky to combat the swine flu.

“Welsh whisky is on offer to Russian supporters as a disinfectant,” Alexander Shprygin, head of the national team’s fan club, said Monday. “This will relieve any symptoms.”

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Chile reports 1st swine flu death in South America

A 37 year old Chilean man has died from “massive respiratory failure” caused by the H1N1 virus.  This is concerning because of the man’s relatively young age, not to mention the fact that during the 1918 flu pandemic, massive respiratory failure was a common cause of death.

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