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 …

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 …

Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015

What medical innovations will have the biggest impact in 2015? At the Cleveland Clinic’s annual Medical Innovation Summit this week, the top 10 list included a high-tech stroke ambulance, painless blood testing, new cancer therapies and a vaccine that could help 50 million to 100 million people in more than 100 countries. The list of up-and-coming technologies and drug therapies was chosen by a panel of 110 physicians and scientists, and announced at the conference in Cleveland. Here are their …

Missteps in U.S. Ebola Protection Plan Continue

Let’s see: A nurse who cared for a dying Ebola patient is allowed to fly on a commercial flight days later despite having a low-grade fever. Another worker who handled the patient’s lab specimens takes a cruise and has to be quarantined aboard the ship. Officials with the hospital where the man died admit nurses were never given Ebola training. Is this how the U.S. thinks it will protect citizens against this disease? The head of the U.S. Centers for …