Influenza is hitting hard across the country. The season started early and now hospitals are having a hard time keeping up with the tidal wave of severely sick people. Emergency rooms are overflowing with patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about three-fourths of the people who have been tested so far have had the H3N2 strain of influenza A. H3N2 can cause severe illness, which may explain why so many people are under the weather.
In theory, this year’s influenza vaccine is a good match for the strains that are circulating, including H3N2 type A influenza. Although public health officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, the immunization does not provide perfect protection. That may explain why some people who were vaccinated have come down with a flu-like illness.
Based on analyses from previous years, one might expect that even a good match can offer protection for about two thirds of senior citizens who get the shot. Those who do come down with flu may want to ask about an antiviral drug such as Tamiflu. This drug may shorten the duration of symptoms.
We offer other approaches to symptom relief and explain why drugstore flu remedies are not helpful in our Guide to Colds, Coughs & the Flu.

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  1. DS

    This morning our local newspaper had a big article about how hard the flu is hitting and that researchers are looking for the perfect vaccine that will work forever. They go on about how we should all get a shot even while reporting that it is 62% effective at best. They say that you should stay away from sick people, wash your hands, and all the usual advice, although there was no mention of Vitamins D, C or K.
    On the same page they advertise a “health fair” with $200 worth of blood tests for $20. Why would I want to go to a large gathering of people during the flu season? Although the cheap blood tests are tempting, common sense tells me to stay away from crowds at this time of year unless I really need to go out, as to church and shop for food. I wonder why I should trust the “medical community” if they can’t even think this out for themselves.

  2. Cindy B.

    Today I was going to break down and get a flu shot (though I never get one ordinarily) because the flu is supposed to be so bad this year. But then my friend said, “Don’t do it!” She said that immunizations of all kinds are rife with extra chemicals, preservatives, etc., that are dangerous to human health. I’d heard this in many places and from many people already. So I didn’t get the shot. But I’m worried because I really can’t afford to be down and out with a flu this year. I’m at an impasse. What’s the Peoples Pharmacy opinion re these fears?

  3. B. Howard

    I live in North Texas which has been hit hard by the flu. We have had some deaths, including one child who reportedly had had the flu shot. News reports say that Tamiflu is almost impossible to find. I’m trying really hard to avoid any exposure, as I am a senior citizen with asthma and copd. I’m good SO FAR! We are not yet even at the peak of the season.

  4. Barri

    I got a flu shot end of September. A week before Christmas I sneezed a sneeze I knew was special. After that I had a fever of 101, stayed in bed for three days, but then felt better. I thought it was a cold. No sore throat, just sinus and chest. But now into January, I am still blowing my nose and experiencing a low energy level. I started jogging again last week, but haven’t felt up to it the last three days. I’m getting good sleep and paying attention to my body’s signs. Hopefully in another week I’ll be back. Perhaps age has something to do with my lack of bounce, I’m 68.

  5. LW

    I had the flu shot in October. Just before Christmas, I started having chills, fever, headache and ached all over. I went to the doctor immediately and tested positive for the flu. The doctor gave me Tamiflu since it was caught early on. I feel like the flu shot prevented the flu from being too severe as I recovered within a few days.
    Dear LW,
    You may well be correct…but we are wondering why the flu shot did not protect you from coming down with the flu in the first place. We have been told the shot is almost a perfect match for this year’s influenza strains. We also wonder whether the Tamiflu is responsible for your faster recovery.
    Anyone else out there get a flu shot and still have a bout with influenza?
    We would like to know how how many people have avoided the flu because of a vaccine. Let us know how you have fared below.

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