What Is The Difference Between Winter Viruses Colds And The Flu
With winter and the holidays comes cold and flu season. We see different people, more people, and tend to stay in warm, confined places. All of these things can lead to more sicknesses. Often when people become ill during the winter, they assume they have “the flu.” While symptoms for some of these illnesses are “flu-like,” the cause may not be influenza. Here is a list of common winter symptoms and the viruses that can cause them:
Respiratory symptoms can be caused by:
- Influenza virus
Gastrointestinal symptoms can be caused by:
Only three of the viruses mentioned above ) are currently preventable by immunization. Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, getting enough rest, staying home when ill, coughing into your elbow, and eating a well-balanced diet may decrease your chances of getting sick or passing an illness to others.
And remember, if you think you have “the flu,” you may not actually have influenza.
Scientists Isolate The Human Influenza Virus
Influenza vaccine developmenta high priority for the U.S. military following the deaths of approximately one in every 67 soldiers from the flu during the 1918-1919 pandemictook a major step forward when researchers at the UK’s Medical Research Council were able to isolate the virus from humans.
Virologist Patrick Laidlaw and his team were working with ferrets to develop a distemper vaccine when the animals caught the flu from Wilson Smith, one of the scientists in the laboratory. The team dubbed it the “W.S.” virus, and their discovery made it possible to develop a vaccine.
Does The Influenza Vaccine Cause Guillain
The data have been mixed regarding whether influenza vaccine can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome however, it is now generally agreed that very rarely, people can get GBS after receiving the influenza vaccine. However, people can also experience GBS after viral infections, including influenza, and the rates of GBS are about 17 times higher after infection than vaccination. For more information about GBS, see the September 2021 Parents PACK Feature Article, Guillain-Barré Syndrome & Vaccines: The Risks and Recommendations.
Every year, between 75 and 150 previously healthy children die after becoming infected with influenza therefore, the benefits of getting the influenza vaccine outweigh the risks.
Don’t Miss: Pertussis Vaccine Cvs
Aspirin Poisoning And The Flu
With no cure for the flu, many doctors prescribed medication that they felt would alleviate symptoms including aspirin, which had been trademarked by Bayer in 1899a patent that expired in 1917, meaning new companies were able to produce the drug during the Spanish Flu epidemic.
Before the spike in deaths attributed to the Spanish Flu in 1918, the U.S. Surgeon General, Navy and the Journal of the American Medical Association had all recommended the use of aspirin. Medical professionals advised patients to take up to 30 grams per day, a dose now known to be toxic. Symptoms of aspirin poisoning include hyperventilation and pulmonary edema, or the buildup of fluid in the lungs, and its now believed that many of the October deaths were actually caused or hastened by aspirin poisoning.
Us Patients Have A New Option For Helping To Relieve Flu Symptoms
The FDA approved the antiviral peramivir for the relief of flu symptoms,including cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, feverishness, muscle aches and fatigue.
Unlike other drugs of its kind, its taken intravenously and only requires one dose. The medication is available to patients admitted to the Emergency Department who may not be candidates for oral treatment, including those who are severely dehydrated, have swallowing issues or who do not have a fully functioning gastrointestinal tract.
You May Like: Tdap Vaccine Cvs
The Flu Takes Heavy Toll On Society
The flu took a heavy human toll, wiping out entire families and leaving countless widows and orphans in its wake. Funeral parlors were overwhelmed and bodies piled up. Many people had to dig graves for their own family members.
The flu was also detrimental to the economy. In the United States, businesses were forced to shut down because so many employees were sick. Basic services such as mail delivery and garbage collection were hindered due to flu-stricken workers.
In some places there werent enough farm workers to harvest crops. Even state and local health departments closed for business, hampering efforts to chronicle the spread of the 1918 flu and provide the public with answers about it.
READ MORE: Pandemics that Changed History
The Seventies: Genetic Reassortment
Split vaccines were widely used during the pandemic swine influenza in 1976 and in 1977, when the H1N1 subtype re-emerged worldwide. However, they were seen to be less immunogenic than whole virus vaccines in “primed” subjects who had never been vaccinated. Indeed, it was shown that two vaccine doses were needed in order to ensure effective protection .
At the beginning of the 1970s, an important innovation was introduced into the production of influenza vaccines: the genetic reassortment of influenza virus strains this technique enabled the vaccine strains to grow faster in embryonated hen eggs .
The first subunit vaccine was created between 1976 and 1977. This contained only the surface antigens, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase , which were isolated by means of successive purification steps.
This innovative tool proved to be highly immunogenic and well tolerated in humans, especially in children, although two doses were needed to guarantee vaccine effectiveness during epidemics .
Read Also: Cheapest Shingles Vaccine
Vaccine Development Across The United States
Another group of investigators described the use of vaccines at the Naval Training Station in San Francisco. They relate that Spanish influenza did not reach San Francisco until October 1, 1918, and that that staff at the training station therefore had time to prepare preventive measures . Isolation was easy, due to the location of the base on Alameda Island, reachable only by boat from San Francisco and Oakland. Naval Yard personnel were required to use an antiseptic throat spray daily. Beyond these measures, the authors noted that steps were taken to produce a prophylactic vaccine, even though there was a great diversity of opinion as to the exciting cause of the pandemic. In general pneumococcus and streptococcus were seen as the cause of the most severe complications. Additionally, and amid dissent, they decided to obtain a culture of B. influenzae from a fatal case at the Rockefeller Institute to include in the vaccine. In all, the vaccine contained B. influenzae, 5 billion bacteria pneumococcus Types I and II, 3 billion each pneumococcus Type III, 1 billion and Streptococcus hemolyticus , 100 million.
In an editorial entitled Prophylactic Inoculation Against Influenza, Journal of the American Association of Medicine editors warned that, the data presented are simply too inadequate to permit a competent judgment of whether the vaccines were effective. In particular, they addressed Rosenows paper:
Where Did The Spanish Flu Come From
Scientists still do not know for sure where the Spanish Flu originated, though theories point to France, China, Britain, or the United States, where the first known case was reported at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, on March 11, 1918.
Some believe infected soldiers spread the disease to other military camps across the country, then brought it overseas. In March 1918, 84,000 American soldiers headed across the Atlantic and were followed by 118,000 more the following month.
Read Also: Can You Get Tdap At Cvs
False Claim: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic Was Caused By Vaccines
6 Min Read
The claim that the influenza pandemic of 1918 was the after-effect of the massive nation-wide vaccine campaign is unfounded. A vaccine against the flu did not exist at the time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , having no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections meant that control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions,such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly.
According to the CDC report Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999, prior to 1900, the vaccines for smallpox, rabies, typhoid, cholera and plague had been developed in the U.S. . The report states that although the first vaccine against smallpox was developed in 1796, greater than 100 years later its use had not been widespread enough to fully control the disease Four other vaccines — against rabies, typhoid, cholera, and plague — had been developed late in the 19th century but were not used widely by 1900.
Killing an estimated 675,000 Americans , the 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic was indeed the deadliest flu pandemic in modern history .
Work Begins On A Universal Flu Vaccine
Johnson & Johnson announced that it will begin work on the development of a new universal flu vaccine designed to fight all types of the virus, using molecules called mini-HA antigens that contain parts of the flu virus that appear within a wide variety of viruses. The goal: provide longer-lasting protection than the regular seasonal flu shot.
The catalyst for this was a 2008 discovery by Crucell that human antibody CR6261 could protect against a broad spectrum of influenza viruses. It was then that researchers realized humans are capable of producing antibodies against the part of the influenza virus that doesn’t changean idea that was not accepted before this time.
Current flu vaccines have to be changed year to year, and even then, they only reduce the risk of developing the flu by 40 to 60%, explains Ted KwaksTed Kwaks, Ph.D.,Director for Project Management and External Innovation, Viral Vaccines Discovery, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Ph.D., Director for Project Management and External Innovation, Viral Vaccines Discovery, , part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. The theory is that, ultimately, well put these antigens into a vaccine that will provide protection against virtually all flu strains.
Read Also: Tdap Cost Cvs
The Faltering Case For Pfeiffer’s Bacillus
At first the apparent success of these vaccines served to increase confidence in the role played by Pfeiffer’s bacillus. But other evidence was accumulating. Initially, when observers reported difficulty isolating Pfeiffer’s bacillus from influenza cases, they found their technique and experience questioned., But slowly the evidence against Pfeiffer’s bacillus mounted, first ambiguously and then emphatically. J.J. Keegan, a naval medical officer working in the Boston area, published an early report on studies undertaken during an outbreak of 2,000 cases in the First Naval District during the two-week period between August 28 and September 11, 1918. Keegan made a special effort to study the outbreak bacteriologically. He had difficulty isolating Pfeiffer’s bacillus from throat washings or from sputum in both influenza cases and from patients admitted to the hospital with other conditions. He wondered whether the organism might be harbored in the sinuses or some other place more inaccessible to him. When he resorted to lung punctures in life and lung cultures at postmortem, he succeeded in isolating Pfeiffer’s bacillus in 82.6% of 23 cases.
How Us Cities Tried To Stop The 1918 Flu Pandemic
A devastating second wave of the Spanish Flu hit American shores in the summer of 1918, as returning soldiers infected with the disease spread it to the general populationespecially in densely-crowded cities. Without a vaccine or approved treatment plan, it fell to local mayors and healthy officials to improvise plans to safeguard the safety of their citizens. With pressure to appear patriotic at wartime and with a censored media downplaying the diseases spread, many made tragic decisions.
Philadelphias response was too little, too late. Dr. Wilmer Krusen, director of Public Health and Charities for the city, insisted mounting fatalities were not the Spanish flu, but rather just the normal flu. So on September 28, the city went forward with a Liberty Loan parade attended by tens of thousands of Philadelphians, spreading the disease like wildfire. In just 10 days, over 1,000 Philadelphians were dead, with another 200,000 sick. Only then did the city close saloons and theaters. By March 1919, over 15,000 citizens of Philadelphia had lost their lives.
St. Louis, Missouri, was different: Schools and movie theaters closed and public gatherings were banned. Consequently, the peak mortality rate in St. Louis was just one-eighth of Philadelphias death rate during the peak of the pandemic.
Citizens in San Francisco were fined $5a significant sum at the timeif they were caught in public without masks and charged with disturbing the peace.
Also Check: Cvs Tdap Shot
The Hong Kong Flu Pandemic Strikes
The third major flu pandemic of the century, the Hong Kong pandemic , killed about 1 million people worldwide, accounting for 34,000 deaths in the United States.
Compared to the first two pandemics of the century, this one yielded a lower death rate, with a case-to-fatality ratio below 0.5%.
Possible reasons for this include the fact that there was some immunity against the N2 virus amongst those who had survived the Asian flu pandemic the outbreak struck around the winter school holidays, limiting its spread in schools improved medical care better supported the very ill and antibiotics were available to help ward off secondary bacterial infections.
The Media Silences Non
The media, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and other privately owned communications outlets have become the self-proclaimed guardians of information.
On April 26, 2020, Twitter suspended the account of a publicly traded biotech company for sharing information about a non-medicinal UV light therapy for COVID-19. YouTube also removed a video demonstrating how the technology works.
will ban videos that contradict W.H.O. guidance on the pandemic or share fake or unproven Coronavirus remedies.
NewsGuard recently classified Mercola.com as fake news for reporting that the COVID virus potentially leaked from the biosafety level 4 laboratory in Wuhan City, China.
Don’t Miss: Cost Of Tdap At Cvs
What Caused The Spanish Flu
Its unknown exactly where the particular strain of influenza that caused the pandemic came from however, the 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, America and areas of Asia before spreading to almost every other part of the planet within a matter of months.
Despite the fact that the 1918 flu wasnt isolated to one place, it became known around the world as the Spanish flu, as Spain was hit hard by the disease and was not subject to the wartime news blackouts that affected other European countries.
One unusual aspect of the 1918 flu was that it struck down many previously healthy, young peoplea group normally resistant to this type of infectious illnessincluding a number of World War I servicemen.
In fact, more U.S. soldiers died from the 1918 flu than were killed in battle during the war. Forty percent of the U.S. Navy was hit with the flu, while 36 percent of the Army became ill, and troops moving around the world in crowded ships and trains helped to spread the killer virus.
Although the death toll attributed to the Spanish flu is often estimated at 20 million to 50 million victims worldwide, other estimates run as high as 100 million victimsaround 3 percent of the worlds population. The exact numbers are impossible to know due to a lack of medical record-keeping in many places.
Sex Differences In Mortality
The high mortality rate of the influenza pandemic is one aspect that sets the pandemic apart from other disease outbreaks. Another factor is the higher mortality rate of men compared with women. Men with an underlying condition were at significantly more risk. Tuberculosis was one of the deadliest diseases in the 1900s, and killed more men than women. But with the spread of influenza disease, the cases of tuberculosis cases in men decreased. Many scholars have noted that tuberculosis increased the mortality rate of influenza in males, decreasing their life expectancy. During the 1900s tuberculosis was more common in males than females, but studies show that when influenza spread the tuberculosis mortality rate among females changed. The death rate of tuberculosis in females increased significantly and would continue to decline until post-pandemic.
Death rates were particularly high in those aged 2035. The only comparable disease to this was the black death, bubonic plague in the 1300s. As other studies have shown, tuberculosis and influenza had comorbidities and one affected the other. The ages of males dying of the flu show that tuberculosis was a factor, and as males primarily had this disease at the time of the pandemic, they had a higher mortality rate. Life expectancy dropped in males during the pandemic but then increased two years after the pandemic
Recommended Reading: Does Cvs Do Tdap Shots
The Eighties: Subunit Vaccines
In 1980, the first subunit vaccines were licensed in the United Kingdom and are currently available in several countries worldwide.
In 1978, as a result of a major mutation, a new virus strain, H1N1, appeared on the global epidemiological scene. This strain, which was similar to a virus circulating in 1958, emerged in Russia and began to co-circulate, either simultaneously or alternately, with the previous one .
Antigenic drift, caused by frequent changes in the composition of the virus, determined the need to update the vaccine composition each year. This necessity prompted both the implementation of the first surveillance systems and the production of the first trivalent vaccine, which included three formulation strains , in order to ensure effective protection during the 1978 pandemic.
Blood Plasma As An Effective Treatment
In the event of another pandemic, US military researchers have proposed reusing a treatment from the deadly pandemic of 1918 in order to blunt the effects of the flu: Some military doctors injected severely afflicted patients with blood or blood plasma from people who had recovered from the flu.Data collected during that time indicates that the blood-injection treatment reduced mortality rates by as much as 50 percent.
Navy researchers have launched a test to see if the 1918 treatment will work against deadly Asian bird flu. Results thus far have been inconclusive. Human H5N1 plasma may be an effective, timely, and widely available treatment for the next flu pandemic. A new international study using modern data collection methods, would be a difficult, slow process. Citing the months-long wait for a vaccine for the next pandemic, many flu experts are of the opinion that the 1918 method is something to consider.
In the worldwide 1918 flu pandemic, “physicians tried everything they knew, everything they had ever heard of, from the ancient art of bleeding patients, to administering oxygen, to developing new vaccines and sera . Only one therapeutic measure showed any hint of success: Transfusing blood from recovered patients to new victims.”
Recommended Reading: Cheapest Shingles Shot