Monday, September 19, 2016

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Arrr. Ahoy there, mateys! It be Talk Like a Pirate Day. Time t' hoist the jolie rouge. Avast, ye wee creepies, for ye'll have no quarter.

(This also be me four hundredth post, for those what're keepin' count.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Influenza Vaccine Has Been Studied in Pregnant Women

Click to enlarge.
Summer is very nearly over in the Northern hemisphere. Fall and winter creep ever closer. As the temperatures drop, we begin to think about pulling out our warmer clothes. We shake out our jackets. Those with oil heat make sure their tanks are filled. Others stock up on firewood. The really forward thinking might ensure that their shovels are in decent shape for any snow that may be coming their way.

We're also heading into flu season. Influenza rears its ugly head from fall, through winter, and into early spring. It's one of those diseases that people tend to underestimate and have a lot of misconceptions about. A lot of illnesses people think are the flu are actually different illnesses caused by bacteria, parasites, or different viruses. A lot of people think that it is a fairly benign disease, even though it kills thousands of people in the U.S. every year, and hundreds of thousands worldwide. Then there are the myths about the flu vaccine. Probably the most common mistaken belief is that the vaccine can give you the flu, even though it can't. The available vaccines use either inactivated virus or a severely weakened form of the virus, neither of which will give you the flu.

Suffice it to say, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the flu and the flu vaccine. But there is one population that is more seriously affected, both by the disease itself and by the myths: pregnant women.