Is It a Cold or the Flu? Here’s How to Tell

Judging by all the people sneezing and coughing on my flight last week, and the ubiquitous “Get your flu shot” signs at every pharmacy, it’s obvious we’ve begun the dreaded cold and flu season. So how can you tell if your aches and scratchy throat are a typical cold or a more serious bout of the flu? A quick rule of thumb is that cold symptoms generally occur from the neck up, whereas flu symptoms take over your whole body. …

CDC: Flu Shot Should Be Better This Season

En español | With flu season about to start, health officials reassured Americans that the new, updated flu vaccine now available should do a better job than last year’s. The 2014-15 flu season was particularly nasty, thanks to a major flu strain that changed after the vaccine had already been manufactured. As a result, last year’s vaccine was only 13 percent effective against the virulent H3N2 strain, causing the highest hospitalization rate among older adults that the Centers for Disease …

Weak Flu Shot Adds to Woes for Those 65-Plus

It’s already a bad flu season for those age 65-plus and now there’s more bad news: This season’s flu shot will only cut your chances of getting sick by 23 percent, compared to the more typical 60 percent in previous years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Federal health officials said this year’s figure is nearly the lowest the agency has seen during the decade or so since it began tracking annual vaccine effectiveness, the Washington …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun. 1. The 24th 007 movie will feature the first 50-year-old “Bond Girl.” (Learn more at AARP) 2. President Obama has acid reflux. (Learn more at AARP) 3. Your flu shot might not protect you from half the varieties of this season’s bugs. (Learn more at AARP) 4. When the president of Ukraine seeks advice, he sometimes turns to a doll. (Learn more at Buzzfeed) 5. Smoking is unhealthy for anyone, but it’s worse for men. …

It’s Going to Be a Bad Flu Season

Sorry, folks, but we’re headed into a nasty flu season. The government’s disease experts say this season’s strain will be particularly virulent and — even worse — about half of the strain’s viruses have already mutated into a form that the current vaccine can’t fully protect against. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the flu shot is still the best bet for protection, but they also urged people who feel they are coming down with …

5 Ways to Avoid Getting Sick This Winter

It’s that season again. The one with lots of coughing, sneezing, sniffling, aching and carrying around large wads of tissues. So how do you protect yourself from colds and the flu, other than staying home from now through May? Obviously, getting a flu shot should be first on your list. Although no one can predict whether this flu season will be as severe as last year’s, a new study that looked at flu rates among those age 60-plus for the …