Flu Seasons

By email from MJM, December US flu prevalence over the past 3 years (click to enlarge):

The figures are apparently from CDC, but MJM provided no link. Anyway, flu epidemics seem to be getting worse (i.e. more widespread) every year.  MJM says they usually fade out by some time in March. His advice:

Get your flu shots and STAY HOME whenever you can the next few weeks or it looks like there’s a good chance you’ll end up with the flu this year.

I won’t be getting a flu shot because a) I don’t believe it’s possible to immunise against a constantly changing virus, and b) I think you’re more likely to get some bug by visiting a doctor’s surgery than you are likely to be prevented from getting one, and c) my faith in the medical profession (and in particular anyone who works in Public Health) is in free fall.

I think I’m just going to stay home. I mostly do anyway. I’m probably one of the most isolated people in the UK, thanks to the smoking ban. I won’t be visiting any pubs or restaurants or other social venues before March.

And then there’s Aussie flu:

The Aussie Flu is believed to be gripping the UK amid fears it will be the worst outbreak in 50 years.

In the last seven days alone 1,111 people have been hit by flu – a shocking increase of 156%.

And experts believe this suggests the killer strain, called H3N2, has arrived.

The Royal Liverpool is among Britain’s hospitals which has seen a sudden hike in flu admissions.

I’m not sure whether this is a different strain from the flu that seems to be sweeping the USA.

Why is ‘flu getting worse?

A key factor seems to be that the flu vaccine has been less effective than expected this year.

Preliminary data suggests it offered only 15 to 20 per cent protection, Professor Collignon says.

This means as many as 85 per cent of people who were vaccinated and then exposed to the virus still got infected.

“For whatever reason, the vaccine has been very ineffective this year….”

“We really need a better vaccine. We need a different design of vaccine that … gives us protection for the next five or 10 years, no matter what strains come.”

Fat chance of that happening while Public Health remains fixated on eating, drinking, and smoking.

One thing that puzzles me is that there seem to be distinct multiple flu seasons.

 in tropical regions of Australia there tends to be two flu seasons a year

Wikipedia:

Why should diseases have seasons? In Australia it seems the peak flu season is August. In the northern hemisphere it’s January. Is it temperature-related?

The question of seasonality is especially interesting because we still don’t understand why flu exhibits such a strong seasonal pattern (many hypotheses have been advanced but there is still no agreement). Managua is warm, with a fairly constant temperature between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius. In temperate climates flu season takes place mostly with temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius and low absolute humidity. But in the two years of this study flu peaked in June and July each year, the middle of the rainy season (May to November). Furthermore, this paper also showed a peak in the November – December months during one (2006) but not the other of the two years.

Maybe it’s an astronomical thing, and whichever region of the Earth that is furthest from the Sun is the most likely to have flu epidemics as viruses rain down from deep space? Guardian 2000:

Dismissing as dogma the conventional medical wisdom that flu is a virus passed by human contact, the distinguished astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle, and his colleague at Cardiff university, Chandra Wickramasinghe, warn that we may be on the brink of a global epidemic.

In a report to be published in the journal Current Science, they claim the outbreak was caused by dust deposited high in the atmosphere by passing comets being forced down to earth by energy generated by cooler patches on the sun’s surface, known as sunspots.

They reach the peak of their activity, the maxima, every 11 years, coinciding, the scientists say, with all major flu outbreaks since 1761, including the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic blamed for 20m deaths worldwide. The latest cycle began to peak in September and the maxima is due sometime this year.

Also Gizmodo.

We seem to be nearer to a sunspot minimum than a sunspot maximum right now.

The current flu epidemic is probably being hyped by Public Health anyway.

About Frank Davis

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39 Responses to Flu Seasons

  1. sackersonwp says:

    A New Year’s Gift for you:

    Now that was really risky! Not like going to the Moon, pfff!

    Best wishes for 2018

  2. Mark Jarratt, Binalong Bay, TAS, Australia says:

    Observations a), b) and c) are accurate, in my non medical ‘expert’ view Frank. My caring sharing very PC workplace offers flu vaccinations annually.

    I don’t accept, because on the one occasion I did the consequences were worse than the claimed ‘almost 100% certain’ influenza. My experience, unsupported by fraudulent medo-health cult statistics, is that ‘flu’ (more accurately the common cold) in Australia peaks around August because it’s the last month of our very mild winters and oppressed proletarian taxpayers decide that’s the right time to claim ‘sickies’ (days when one is disinclined to front up for more nostril grinding even if not actually ill).

    On that somewhat cynical note, I take this opportunity to thank you and the other unique and amusing blog contributors/creators for your daily dose of virtual inhalation, wishing you a successful anti ANTZ 2018.

    We’re almost in 2018 now, and RdM in Auckland is, owing to the international dateline (a zigzag to suit Hawaii I believe).🌏

  3. beobrigitte says:

    The figures are apparently from CDC, but MJM provided no link. Anyway, flu epidemics seem to be getting worse (i.e. more widespread) every year. MJM says they usually fade out by some time in March.
    Of course the flu “epidemics” are getting more widespread and possibly worse every year. When people booked a flight and then find themselves having “the lurgy”, they are not staying at home. A friend and I crawled off a plane a couple of weeks ago; my friend became ill just before Christmas. It took me a little longer to get an annoying cold.

    His advice:

    Get your flu shots and STAY HOME whenever you can the next few weeks or it looks like there’s a good chance you’ll end up with the flu this year.
    I’ll do no such things for exactly the same reasons as Frank states above, but I will go out to the shops and visit friends as usual. There is only ONE place I will NOT visit: A&E. It’ll be packed with sneezing, feverish people fearing for their lives.
    I do believe that I need to encounter the ever changing microbes in order to stand a chance should I encounter the worst version of them. But then, I also know that it’s a raffle, especially being older with a naturally beginning to fail immune system.

    And then there’s Aussie flu:

    The Aussie Flu is believed to be gripping the UK amid fears it will be the worst outbreak in 50 years.

    In the last seven days alone 1,111 people have been hit by flu – a shocking increase of 156%.

    And experts believe this suggests the killer strain, called H3N2, has arrived.

    The Royal Liverpool is among Britain’s hospitals which has seen a sudden hike in flu admissions.
    I am not surprised that hospitals are the best place to catch the flu. People have become conditioned, thanks to the scared to death public “health” advocates, to run to A&E for about EVERYTHING.

    My advice: If you’ve caught “the lurgy”, stay at home. You know you’ve got it and you don’t need to pass it on. Ingest one or two hot toddies with copious amounts of whiskey/brandy and some lemon until you start giggeling and then retire to bed.
    Things look better the next day.

    On second thought; maybe the flu virus has not changed dramatically but people have? We do live in a culture of never ending fear mongering, particularly fear of things that make you sick is peddled non-stop.
    Fear, however, has a very negative effect on our health:
    Impact of chronic fear
    Living under constant threat has serious health consequences.

    1. Physical health. Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. It can lead to accelerated ageing and even premature death.
    2. Memory. Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.
    3. Brain processing and reactivity. Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
    4. Mental health. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD.

    https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/security/facing-fear/impact-fear

  4. Rose says:

    Maybe it’s an astronomical thing, and whichever region of the Earth that is furthest from the Sun is the most likely to have flu epidemics as viruses rain down from deep space?

    Wherever they come from, lack of sunlight makes considerable sense to me.

    Vitamin D protects against colds and flu, finds major global study
    16 February 2017

    “A study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) finds that vitamin D supplements protect against acute respiratory infections including colds and flu.”

    “Vitamin D – the ‘sunshine vitamin’ – is thought to protect against respiratory infections by boosting levels of antimicrobial peptides – natural antibiotic-like substances – in the lungs. Results of the study fit with the observation that colds and ‘flu are commonest in winter and spring, when levels of vitamin D are at their lowest. They may also explain why vitamin D protects against asthma attacks, which are commonly triggered by respiratory viruses.”
    http://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/items/smd/192725.html

  5. Jack Ketch says:

    What pisses me off during flu season are those people with colds who insist on coughing into their hand as taught in kindergarten and then touching, say, tins on the supermarket shelf . Worst still the till staff who cough and then hand you your change . One more reason to use Tesco online I suppose.

    Anyways a happy new year to all here, may it bring you all of your needs and most of your wants (and may PMT.May bring you all you deserve; Brexiteer or Remainer). Flag, flax, fodder and frig (and no I am not a wiccan).

  6. JonT says:

    I had a flu jab a few weeks ago. Wish I’d never bothered – I now have the flu and i’m having the crappiest weekend ever.

  7. Tony says:

    There was panic about a bird flu pandemic that never occurred between, I think, 2005 and 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/world/2005/bird_flu/default.stm

    Then a similar panic about swine flu around 2009 to 2010. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/swine-flu/

    In each case the WHO fanned the flames (or maybe instigated it in the first place). Big pharma was the winner each time (especially Roche I think), selling vast quantities of ant-viral drugs because existing stocks had, rather conveniently, just passed their use by date.

    I have no idea if this is relevant. It would need a lot more digging but thought I’d mention it anyway.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It’s highly relevant. Sir Liam Donaldson was the Chief Health Officer from 1998 to 2010. He was responsible for the bird flu epidemic fiasco (and for the swine flu fiasco as well, most likely). And he demanded that the proposed smoking ban not have any exceptions (e.g. in wet led pubs), threatening to resign if he didn’t get his way. None of this gets mentioned in his Wikipedia page, of course.

    • Rose says:

      I had a particular distaste for Liam Donaldson.

      The pandemic that never was: Drug firms ‘encouraged world health body to exaggerate swine flu threat’
      2010

      Declaring a swine flu pandemic was a ‘monumental error’, driven by profit-hungry drug companies spreading fear, an influential report has concluded.
      It led to huge amounts of taxpayers’ money being wasted in stockpiling vaccines, it added.
      Paul Flynn, the Labour MP charged with investigating the handling of the swine flu outbreak for the Council of Europe, described it as ‘a pandemic that never really was’.

      The report accuses the World Health Organisation of grave shortcomings in the transparency of the process that led to its warning last year.
      The MP said that the world relied on the WHO, but after ‘crying wolf’, its reputation was in jeopardy.

      The report questions whether the pandemic was driven by drug companies seeking a profit. Mr Flynn said predictions of a ‘plague’ that would wipe out up to 7.5million people proved to be ‘an exaggeration’, with fewer than 20,000 deaths worldwide.
      Britain braced itself for up to 65,000 deaths and signed vaccine contracts worth £540million.
      The actual number of deaths was fewer than 500 and the country is now desperately trying to unpick the contracts and unload millions of unused jabs.”
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1284133/The-pandemic-Drug-firms-encouraged-world-health-body-exaggerate-swine-flu-threat.html

      Previously

      Swine flu could kill 65,000 in UK, warns chief medical officer
      July 2009

      “Up to 65,000 people could die from swine flu in the UK in a worst case scenario set out by the chief medical officer (Liam Donaldson) as the government launched a national service for patients to obtain antiviral drugs over the internet and telephone.”
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/jul/16/swine-flu-pandemic-warning-helpline

      Public ‘must be protected from passive drinking’
      March 2009

      “PEOPLE should be protected from “passive drinking” in the same way they are protected from second-hand smoke, Britain’s top doctor said today.
      Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer for England, called for society to recognise the consequences of one person’s drinking on another’s well-being – a phenomenon he labelled passive drinking.”
      https://www.standard.co.uk/news/public-must-be-protected-from-passive-drinking-6937798.html

      Sir Liam Donaldson quits the NHS… but his critics say resignation is two years too late
      December 2009

      “The country’s most senior doctor unexpectedly resigned last night.
      Chief medical officer Liam Donaldson surprised the NHS by stepping down after a reign which saw him accused of botching the training of junior doctors and orchestrate the response to swine flu.”

      “Last night, Remedy UK, which represents junior doctors, said his resignation had come two years too late.
      They called on him to go two years ago after the introduction of a botched online application system for junior doctors, which led to hundreds of candidates not being interviewed for jobs.
      More than 15,000 doctors failed to find posts and some were forced to seek work abroad.

      Head of policy Dr Richard Marks said: ‘We were after his blood. His review of doctors’ training was done so hamfistedly and it was rushed. We were very annoyed that he messed up but refused to go.
      ‘He was never independent enough of government. His number one loyalty was always to government than to doctors.”
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1236179/Sir-Liam-Donaldson-quits-NHS–critics-say-resignation-years-late.html

      Perhaps he’d had a better offer.

      WHO Director-General names Sir Liam Donaldson envoy for patient safety
      July 2011
      http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2011/patient_safety_20110721/en/

      • beobrigitte says:

        Vitamin D is overrated – and another Big Pharma income. Trends are for supplements when you can have Vitamin D for free by going for a 20 minute walk.

        There is NO REASON why we should be vitamin D deficient. Unless you increase the mean value for it and prescribe a pharmaceutically produced supplement for those who fall into the bracket below this new mean.

        May I suggest to apply common sense and lose all fear?

        • Vlad says:

          So for instance, a black person living in Scotland has no reason to be vitamin D deficient? :) I suggest searching on YouTube for Bruce Ames and his ‘triage theory’.

        • Rose says:

          Vitamin D is overrated – and another Big Pharma income. Trends are for supplements when you can have Vitamin D for free by going for a 20 minute walk

          Not in winter you can’t, the light levels are too low.

        • beobrigitte says:

          So for instance, a black person living in Scotland has no reason to be vitamin D deficient? :) I suggest searching on YouTube for Bruce Ames and his ‘triage theory’.
          And this black person’s diet?

          Not in winter you can’t, the light levels are too low.
          People have lived in the northern hemisphere and survived Winters without buying pharmaceutically produced supplements for a long time.
          Top 10 Vitamin D Rich Foods
          1) Sunlight
          Promotes vitamin D synthesis from cholesterol in the skin.

          2) Cod liver oil
          1 tsp: 440 IU (over 100% DV)

          3) Sardines
          3 ounces: 164 IU (41% DV)

          4) Salmon
          3 ounces: 400 IU (100% DV)

          5) Mackerel
          3 ounces: 400 IU (100% DV)

          6) Tuna
          3 ounces: 228 IU (57% DV)

          7) Raw Milk
          1 cup: 98 IU (24% DV)

          8) Caviar
          1 oz: 33 IU (8% DV)

          9) Eggs
          1 large: 41 IU (10% DV)

          10) Mushrooms
          1 cup: 2 IU (1% DV)

          https://draxe.com/top-10-vitamin-d-rich-foods/

        • Vlad says:

          It’s not about surviving…after all, people have survived Hiroshima…but about optimizing one’s health. Probably you can get most vitamins and minerals you need at the moment from a very carefully prepared diet (although in particular cases like with vitamin D and dark skinned people living in cold&cloudy climates, I doubt it), but how about long term optimal health and energy levels?
          Also, I think we should differentiate between supplements of vitamins and minerals and Big Pharma’s concoctions they like to call ‘life saving’ but which in reality are just a money grabbing scheme, often making the patients more sick than they were at the start of the ‘treatment’.

        • Rose says:

          I have to agree, six years ago despite hanging around in the garden all summer and having a diet the includes many of those things, I started getting patches of psoriasis that persisted all winter and magically vanished within three days of the first unseasonably hot spell in Spring when I resorted to wearing a sun dress. The answer was clear.

          So now I take 10mg of vitamin D from October to March and the psoriasis only returns when I forget to take the tablets.
          I’m getting older and I clearly don’t retain the vitamin D I built up over summer like I did.

        • Rose says:

          Correction – it’s 10μg not 10mg, I just looked at the label

      • smokingscot says:

        Donaldson’s doing just fine. The establishment does look after its own.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liam_Donaldson

        Chancellor of a university.

        And.

        https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/about-us/whos-who/sir-liam-donaldson

        Something at another.

    • beobrigitte says:

      There was panic about a bird flu pandemic that never occurred between, I think, 2005 and 2007.
      I do recall that. And there was a lot of vaccine produced that the NHS stock piled. I guess that’s why we staff were URGED to get a flu jab the following winter.
      I told them to get lost and that I’d hope to get a flu. 2 weeks off sick = priceless.
      Needless to say, my answer was ignored.

      Flu “epidemics”? I take my chances.

  8. Vlad says:

    Vitamins C, D and tobacco smoke are much more effective for preventing the flu than those jabs. Even the high priests of PH admit that in 50% of the cases if not more, the flu jab is as good as a band aid on an wooden leg.

    Last year’s flu vaccine was 66 per cent effective in children and 41 per cent effective in adults under 65.
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5224329/Over-75s-new-flu-super-vaccine.html

    • Vlad says:

      From an article in 1914 which has been posted here before:
      THE FOE OF GERMS,
      While it has long been known that tobacco smoke is a valuable preventive against infection during the epidemic of a contagious disease, it is only recently that an analysis of smoke-laden air in an East-end district has been contrasted with equally dense air in
      which tobacco fumes were lacking. These analyses have shown that more than one half of the harmful germs had been destroyed by the tobacco smoke.This fact has unconsciously
      been the means of preventing large loss of life, as was noted in the recent cholera epidemic in Germany, where workers in cigar factories were found to be immune to cholera, and wherein the victims were mainly from the non-smokers of the city.
      https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/88044535

      • Tony says:

        Yes. It makes sense that tobacco smoke would be effective against bacteria (eg cholera) but could it also help with viruses such as the flu virus? I genuinely don’t know.

        • Vlad says:

          I think so…this study shows that among males 18-23 years old that were at the Chicago military induction center around 1970, smokers had statistically higher levels of antibodies for various types of influenza virus.
          https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=zqky0146

          ##Adjusted mean antibody titers in smokers and in nonsmokers are shown in Table 1 . The data indicate that smoking had no inhibitory effect on either the development or persistence of influenza A antibody. Not only did the sera from a significantly higher percentage of smokers contain antibody to A2/Hong Kong virus, considered to be the agent of most recent exposure, but the antibody titers were higher as well .This result is in contrast to the earlier study from which results indicated that smoking was associated with
          decreased persistence of influenza A antibody.##

        • Tony says:

          Thanks.

        • beobrigitte says:

          but could it also help with viruses such as the flu virus?
          It doesn’t unless nicotine or whatever else has been attributed to tobacco smoke manages to ENTER the virus.The virus outer coat will only attach to proteins, therefore will NOT be inactivated by other small particles..
          Since the virus relies on the host cell delivering the rest of what it needs for replication, nicotine might well interfere there.

  9. Oi you says:

    I used to get yearly vicious flu bugs which would last three weeks at a time and leave me feeling completely wrung out. Then I moved house and acquired a new gp, who insisted on testing my vitamin D levels. I had been experiencing aching joints and lethargy and a general feeling of unwellness, but laughed at his suggestion that it was anything to do with vitamin D. How wrong I was?! My levels were distinctly low and after correcting with supplements, I felt so much better. And another thing – no flu. Yes, you read me right. I have not experienced a single bout of flu since being on the vitamin D. I’ve had colds, last year I had three, but they only lasted a week and I shook them off relatively quickly. Now every winter, I take 1000 iu a day of vitamin D. Rose you area totally right!

    So why are the medical profession largely pushing the flu jab and not vit D supplements? Anything to do with money? How much do they earn out of it? Anybody know?

    :o)

  10. Bemused says:

    I had the flu once as a young teenager, it flattened me for weeks. Totally debilitating. I then spent 50 years listening to people telling me they had the flu when being off work for a couple of days.

  11. Joe L. says:

    I’ve always been puzzled at why the flu has distinct “seasons.” I also assumed it was related to temperature. However, the correlation with sunspots is very interesting. I need to look into that more. It’s not far-fetched to think that viruses are primitive (or, conversely, highly advanced?) life forms from somewhere else in the universe.

    I also think the severity of the current flu outbreak is being over-hyped by Public Health as part of their ever-increasing program of fear-mongering. I personally know of nobody who has contracted the flu yet this season.

    Nevertheless, I’m traveling this coming week. I’ll be sure to report in if I pick up one of this year’s models.

  12. jaxthefirst says:

    And of course – dare I mention it? – just as obesity rates rise in direct correlation to how many people in a country give up (or don’t take up) smoking, so, it seems, do ‘flu rates. Indeed, back in less politically-correct days many doctors held the view that smoking – causing as it did an increased mucus layer in the lungs – helped to prevent illness-causing viruses and bacteria and allergy-causing dust and other substances from reaching the lung tissue and causing problems. It certainly seems to be the case for me. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been surrounded by non-smoking friends, partner and colleagues all coughing and sneezing and spluttering with nasty colds and flu, but have sailed through totally unaffected by it all. The most I ever seem to get is what feels like it might be the start of a cold, but within 24-48 hours it’s pretty much gone altogether. Even that only happens rarely – most of the time I don’t get any symptoms at all. I stopped getting the flu jab at work after that scare about it (live vaccines or something) some years ago – was it Swine flu that time? I didn’t get flu and have never bothered with it since.

    Like you, Frank, these days I harbour such deep suspicion about anything that Public Health “advises” everyone to do/take/have that I now don’t feel happy about being injected with anything put together under their watch and can even get a bit tinfoil-hat about it at times when I see all these constant exhortations from them, trying to get perfectly healthy people to voluntarily accept being injected with goodness knows what. Wasn’t the Spanish Flu epidemic just after WWI so devastating because it primarily killed people who had young, fit lungs, whereas old people or those with congested or damaged lungs didn’t succumb to it? So, might the real “concern” from Public Health actually be rooted in a deep fear of a similar strain of the virus returning and sweeping away all their newly-converted capnophobes? It would certainly do some damage to all their anti-smoking messages if, all of a sudden, the only people still functioning were largely all those wicked, contrary smokers, wouldn’t it?

    • Frank Davis says:

      The most I ever seem to get is what feels like it might be the start of a cold, but within 24-48 hours it’s pretty much gone altogether.

      I’m the same. I haven’t had a single cold or bout of flu for the past 7 years. The most I ever seem to get is a nose that will stream all day, and then dry up again overnight.

  13. It’d be great if we could get accurate flu graphs going back to 2000 for different states/countries to see how they’ve been impacted by smoking bans. The reduction in ventilation in bars/restaurants may have resulted in a significant increase in flu transmission (although it’d be partly offset by a decrease in customers.)

    And yes, those graphs come from the CDC. My concern about the early appearance of all the brown states may have been misplaced however: in earlier years when the flu hit hard early on it also tended to run its course early on.

    – MJM, prefers things that are fluffy to things that are fluey…

  14. Rose says:

    Btw, Happy New Year to All.

  15. Igrowmyown says:

    Another interesting study would be the increase in dementia compared to the increase in flu jabs for populations.

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