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Source: (consider it) Thread: Influenza
Gramps49
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When I was skimming the Daily Mail this morning I noted that Great Britain is experiencing an epidemic with what you are calling the Ausie flu (sorry people down under). How bad is it?

Here in the States, there are some areas that are beginning outbreaks, but it has not become widespread--yet. But, now with college kids returning from Winter Break look for it spreading more.

Myself, I got vaccinated; however, I understand the virus is mutating rapidly. It is my understanding that in future years they will be able to adapt the vaccine to the virus quicker. In the meantime, while the virus has mutated they are saying the current vaccine will help a person deal with it if one gets it.

Twenty years ago I came down with a bad case of influenza and got very sick to the point one of my lungs collapsed because of fluid in the lung cavity. I ended up being life-flighted to a regional hospital where I had emergency surgery to drain the lung cavity. I was in the hospital for a month. I was in ICU first (even was given last rites) and then in the Cardiac Care Unit after the surgery.

Because of that, I have gotten the flu shot annually. I even updated my pneumonia vaccine as well.

What is your experience?

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simontoad
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Down here the English disease is when 11 cricketers wilt in the sun to lose a test match by an innings and a shedload of runs. To be fair to the delicate flowers they did measure the temperature on the ground at one stage yesterday to have been 55C (131F).

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Human

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Barnabas Aus
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Gramps, here in New South Wales the flu season was the worst on record, which was put down to a combination of the mutating virus and improved diagnosis.

Fifty years ago as a young child, I was a victim of what was then called the Asian flu, which has resulted in chronic respiratory disease. When vaccines were based on live viruses my specialist physician would not allow me to be vaccinated as he felt it too risky, but I am now vaccinated annually for both flu and pneumonia, which are free to senior citizens here.

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Piglet
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I've heard that one of the flu vaccines they used in the UK was the wrong one.

I understand that it's a bit of a lottery: they decide which strain is most likely and vaccinate against it, but there's no cast-iron way of knowing that they've picked the right one until the disease starts to make itself felt.

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cliffdweller
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Yep. I'm a big believer in vaccines, get the flu vaccine every year. This is the first year since I've started getting flu van that I got sick. In fact, the week I and ny entire household got sick-- Xmas week-- 39 states reported outbreaks. Most everyone I know got sick that week

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Golden Key
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I'm glad that those of you who mentioned previous severe flu got through it.

I took the vaccine for a couple of years. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who get flu symptoms from the vaccine. And it didn't seem to prevent catching actual flu. Plus I have Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS/CFS/ME), and we can have reactions to vaccines.

I make do with supplements and relevant herbal teas. Plus an OTC medicine called Osillococcinum (Oscillo, for short), put out by Boiron. Here, you can get it at health food stores and drugstores. It's for both flu and colds. For me, it doesn't end them, but it does help knock them down a good bit.

FWIW, YMMV.

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Firenze

Ordinary decent pagan
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My sister-in-law in Ireland died of it on Christmas morning.
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Baptist Trainfan
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That is extremely sad and I feel for you. [Votive]
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Golden Key
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Firenze--

What BT said.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Gee D
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And our sympathies as well.

People say that their illness is "just a bout of the flu" but Firenze's example is that the flu, whatever it may be, is not necessarily simple disease along the lines of a heavy cold. It can be dangerous, in most cases not so but the potential is always there.

I'd take issue with Piglet's post - at the moment, no flu vaccine is capable of dealing with each and every strain. At best, the decision of what vaccine to give is an educated guess.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Cathscats
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Slightly worried to think of Gramps getting his transatlantic news from the Daiily Mail! Unless that is a local publication of the same name? I trust that if he is reading the Mail, he also reads other publications, for balance. [Razz]

[ 08. January 2018, 08:06: Message edited by: Cathscats ]

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Martin60
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Firenze. How ghastly. I've had it twice knowingly as a fit young adult. The first time in a garret, alone in Bonn over Xmas. I was resigned to dying. I'm now an unhealthy old adult.

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Love wins

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bib
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I succumbed to flu in August 2017 after sitting next to an obviously ill traveller on a plane between Brisbane and Sydney. Within about 24 hours I was quite ill and running a high temperature. This was all despite having the fluvax a couple of months earlier and taking all the usual precautions. My GP said that he had heard the virus had mutated and that the vaccine was probably not as effective as it should have been. However, the GP felt that I might have been more severely ill if I hadn't been vaccinated (didn't feel like that to me). The plane trip and exposure up close to the virus was probably my downfall.

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Doc Tor
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Every year I know I should get the flu jab (even if it turns out to be the wrong strain), and every year, because I'm not normally ill and never go to the GP surgery in the preceding 11 months (my body is falling apart, but I'm not ill), I always forget.

About ten years ago, I contracted flu over the Christmas period. I was in bed for two weeks, and it took me a solid month after that to recover. I got my flu jab in November the next year. The year after that? Nah.

I really do despair of myself sometimes.

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Forward the New Republic

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
When I was skimming the Daily Mail this morning I noted that Great Britain is experiencing an epidemic with what you are calling the Ausie flu (sorry people down under). How bad is it?

IMO the USP of the Daily Mail is "Work out what your readers are afraid of and then tell them it's going to happen". Flu can be serious, and illnesses caused by the 'A' and 'B' type viruses (of which "Aussie flu" is one) tend to be more serious.

It is instructive to compare the Mail's coverage with that of the BBC

To be fair to the Mail, UK hospitals are under serious stress at the moment, but as the BBC story indicates, that is not because of unusually severe levels of flu. I don't think I am bing unduly cynical in thinking that the Mail would like to suggest that the current stress on UK hospitals is due to unexpectedly high levels of flu rather than on political/economic decisions made by a government which it supports.

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Moo

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In the US this year, two flu vaccines are available. One is the ordinary vaccine, the other is supposed to be much stronger. Because I am in my eighties, I was given the stronger vaccine.

So far, so good.

Moo

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Flu is a serious disease. In my 40s I had it for about 10 weeks. Thought I was recovering to relapse. Which is one thing that a virus may do to increase contagion. I lost about 25 lbs. Already thin. Fatigue. Fever. Achey. My hair hurt. It hurt to move my eyes. I get fully that it can kill.

I've posted before my very limited patience with vaccine avoiders for whatever reason. You endanger both those who cannot get the vaccine for legitimate medical reasons and yourself.

Yes vaccines vary in effectiveness. So does the safety of automobiles. But we all wear seatbelts. Tell me why if you can't be bothered.

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cliffdweller
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Adding my condolences to Firenze in the face of tragic loss. [Votive]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Gramps49
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Firenze I am very sorry if I opened up a fresh wound. You certainly have my sympathy and my prayers. Peace be with you.

As to my reference to the Daily Mail, no I do not generally read it. I was looking through it because The Hill made reference to it saying Herr Drump was insisting on an invitation to the Royal Wedding. Rather than quoting a secondary source I wanted to quote Daily Mail in the thread dealing with the Royal Wedding.

And the Hill is not necessarily a rag that I follow either. It just popped up in my news tracker and it caught my interest.

This past week I watched a documentary on the influenza epidemic of 1918-19 on PBS. I had always thought of that epidemic as the Spanish Flu, but the documentary suggested it originated at Ft Riley USA.

My father was born in 1919. Apparently, the epidemic had already started to die out or his family was so isolated they were not exposed to it. I do know he was never exposed to other childhood diseases until he had kids himself. We would bring them home and he would contract them. He got the German Measles about two weeks after I got them (the vaccine had yet to be released). He was very sick.

I know there are some people who cannot take vaccines, but the thought is if a sufficient number of people do get vaccinated those who can't will be protected as well.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I never had a vaccination until this year because I was not old enough and not considered to be in the "at risk" category. This year, possibly the Welsh NHS uses different criteria to the English one, I was offered a jab by my GP. Knowing how bad flu can be (I've had at least three nasty bouts during my life) I accepted with alacrity.

My wife, being a teacher, has had one every year for a long time. Once or twice she's had a mild reaction - and once she got the illness anyway, unfortunately the Health Service, having to make an educated guess about which strain to anticipate, got it wrong that year.

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Schroedinger's cat

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This years flu is bad. My nearly-daughter-in-law was down with it over Christmas - really poorly. Wife was down with something - almost certainly not flu, but a horrible cold thing - over new year, and I seem to have picked it up.

So I think there is a lot of nasty bugs around. The flu strain seems to be particularly bad, but there are also other nasty things that can lay people low.

People tend to minimise flu, becasue there are a lot of "flu-like" bugs around. But it is a really serious illness, and this year seems to be especially bad.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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Interesting to note, is it not, that 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Flu Pandemic. And who said viruses don't have an understanding of irony?

Science will one day "discover" that viruses, along with ants and cockroaches, are infinitely more sentient than us human beings.

Meanwhile, here in the USA in many states, emergency rooms are overflowing with patients and pharmacies are running out of Tamiflu.

I got my flu shot a while back (always do every year) but thought I may have come down with a touch of flu last week -- bad cough, runny nose, no appetite, general lethargy). It seems to have passed, though -- I'm feeling much better today.

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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Og, King of Bashan

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A local newscaster responded to reports that this year's vaccine was "10% effective but still important" by joking that he told his boss the same thing about his own work.

I always get my shot at the pharmacy at the supermarket- it's covered by insurance, and they offer a coupon for 10% off of up to $200.00 in groceries with shot. So nothing out of my pocket, $20.00 off of my next shopping trip, and the chance that I won't be laid out for a few days makes it too good of a deal to resist.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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JLB
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It's not an NHS decision as to which strains are put in each year's flu vaccine. The WHO has to make the decision in May for the whole northern hemisphere, so that the vaccine can be produced by the autumn. This year the Australian outbreak, with a different strain, came too late for that strain to be included.
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Lots of Yay

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It’s also worth remembering that each vaccine contains 3-4 strains and in any flu season there are multiple strains of influenza circulating. So even if you don’t win the vaccine lottery for the most common strain of that season, you may beat some of the others that are around.

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Gramps49
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It is my understanding the strain has been around for a number of years, H3N2, but it has mutated significantly.

I understand The Guardian is reporting that the problem with what has happened is not so much about the Aussie flu as with the underfunding of your the National Health Service.

Not a good example for those of us on this side that do want Universal Health Care, you know.

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Rossweisse

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Firenze, I am so sorry.

An elderly friend of mine spent a week in hospital over Christmas with Type A, and said she had a lot of company.

Because I have Stage IV cancer, my primary physician's office doesn't mess around with me: "The new super-duper flu vaccine is in. When can you come in for your shot? How about this afternoon?"

But the reports on this year's vaccine do not raise my confidence level.

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I'm not dead yet.

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Gramps49
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Rossweisse Sorry to hear of your struggles. Hoping the best for you. Now I know why your signature line is "Not Dead Yet."
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simontoad
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Paul Kelly with Vicka Bull: My Man's Got a Cold

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Human

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la vie en rouge
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I got a shot this year (pregnant). Apparently it only protects against two of the three strains that are circulating but I figure it’s still rather better than nothing. It gave me a bit of a sore arm, but nothing worse than that.

What surprises me is how often I’ve heard the idea that mass flu vaccination is some kind of conspiracy to line the pockets of the laboratories. This includes from one person who is over 70 (so the shot would be free), in rather fragile health and would IMO be much better off getting the vaccine. I don’t dispute that big pharma are bastards, but I don’t get the suspicion of doctors, who are telling people it’s very much in their own best interests to get the shot.

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Mudfrog
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In my 55 years I have only ever had flu once. I was in bed for two of the days I had it and I couldn't lift my head off the pillow.

Amy one who tells me they have fly and they are vertical, to my mind, has a slight cold. If you have flu you are immobile.

Yes, there's a lot of it about - in our area there are a lot of coughs which I take to be a very mild dose of what is the serious flu that is putting people in hospital or on their backs.

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Barnabas62
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I had the vaccine AND have got this flu. Which is causing my asthma to play up big time. I've felt very unwell for several days, some remedial treatment is helping. Worst aspect is a dreadful cough, which is seriously impacting sleep and rest.

This is the fourth year in succession that I've had this combo of a winter virus and exacerbated asthma. I'm getting good help in managing this regular pattern. Something to be endured, rather than cured.


[Votive] Firenze

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Martin60
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Hmmm. I'm making extensive private enquiries about the availability of the quadrivalent vaccine. No joy so far.

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Love wins

Posts: 17316 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rossweisse

High Church Valkyrie
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Rossweisse Sorry to hear of your struggles. Hoping the best for you. Now I know why your signature line is "Not Dead Yet."

Thank you, Gramps. I plan to annoy people for years to come.

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I'm not dead yet.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Firenze - Rossweisse - [Votive]

Mudfrog - apparently most of us have had influenza C at some point. If as an adult, you may have barely noticed it, but it can be very dangerous for small children.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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The5thMary
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Last year I got the 'flu which turned into Bronchitis. It was horrible. My wife caught it from me and ended up in the E.R. twice, me once. Never, never, never again, I swore to myself. So, this year I got both the 'flu and pneumonia shots. I have Type 2 diabetes and am not willing to take chances anymore. I also have asthma, fibromyalsia, and other things. My wife has asthma, Chronic Fatigue, Epstein Barr, and Fibromyalsia but she's also one of those unfortunate folks who believes that the U.S. government is purposely putting Smallpox and other deadly viruses in with the 'flu and pneumonia vaccines. I love my wife very much but this refusal to get vaccinated really makes me mad. It's kind of funny, Before I got Type 2 diabetes, I got colds and the 'flu at the drop of a hat. Now, I hardly ever get a cold or, if I do, my body can fight it off within a day or two. However, we live in a low-income building with many seniors over 62 and they get sick all the time...and many of them have no concept of covering their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Maybe they think, "Hell, these young whippersnappers think they're better than us old folks! I'll just get 'em sick and see how they deal with it!". Probably not true in any way, but I like to harbor my own little conspiracy theories. [Two face]

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God gave me my face but She let me pick my nose.

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L'organist
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I had the jab.

I now have my second bout of 'flu: so-called Australian first, now the other doing the rounds.

Apparently the area where I live is a hot-spot for the type B "Japanese" 'flu which, IME is less about the overall aches-pains-sweats and more about seriously impaired breathing.

I've had to take a Sunday off - unheard of.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Rocinante
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
It is my understanding the strain has been around for a number of years, H3N2, but it has mutated significantly.

I understand The Guardian is reporting that the problem with what has happened is not so much about the Aussie flu as with the underfunding of your the National Health Service.

Not a good example for those of us on this side that do want Universal Health Care, you know.

There was a lot about the NHS crisis in the Observer (Guardian's Sunday sister) yesterday. It may well be on the website but I'm one of those weird people who still reads actual newspapers. The gist is that the NHS is collapsing because Britain spends much less on healthcare than the other well-off European nations, because our governments have convinced us that we don't want to pay very much tax, and, well, you get what you pay for.

Veteran economics correspondent William Keegan writes that a prominent Conservative Brexiter once told him that he particularly liked France because of its excellent health service.

I don't know how these people live with such levels of cognitive dissonance.


[Votive] for all those suffering with flu.

Posts: 369 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2016  |  IP: Logged
BroJames
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In 2015, the UK was spending less per captia on healthcare than: Luxembourg, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. It spends a smaller percentage of GDP than all those countries except Ireland, Luxembourg and Iceland. [source]

In 2014, the UK public expenditure on health care was a lower percentage of GDP than the USA, and between 1/3 and 1/2 of the amount of public expenditure per capita in the USA [source].

There almost certainly are inefficiencies in the NHS, but they are not leading to some ridiculous over-expenditure compared to other countries. If structural changes need to be made in the NHS, then the government needs to invest in making those changes, otherwise the resource cost of bringing about the change can only be met by reducing the resource amount available for the existing system of patient care.

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Golden Key
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TheFifthMary:

FYI: Those of us with Chronic Fatigue sometimes have bad reactions to vaccines.

"Should I get a flu vaccine?" (Hunter-Hopkins Center, P.A.). That focuses on Chronic Fatigue.

Possibly her ideas about vaccines are partly due to the many, many years that CFS sufferers were disbelieved and ignored; the CDC misspending our research money, and being called on the carpet by Congress; and the difficulty in finding doctors who believe it exists, are working hard to learn about it, and are actually trying to help patients.

I know you said smallpox vaccine; but frustration and mistreatment in one area can spill over into another.

One of the good doctors, who's doing both research and treatment, is Dr. Jose Montoya at Stanford University. I believe he has videos on both YouTube and the Stanford site. I've heard his waiting list is years long. But it might be worthwhile to at least check out his online info, and for your wife to present it to your doctor.

IANAD, FWIW, YMMV.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18366 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Huia
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I am lucky in that my Medical centre ring and announce that a vaccine is available and we make an appointment. The Ministry of Health have decided it is easier, and economically more efficient for them to pay to vaccinate medically vulnerable people than have us clogging up the health system.

One year I took time off my voluntary work at a school because it was known that the vaccination for that year missed a virulent strain of flu and children with that flu were still coming to school.

Fortunately this year pharmacies too will be stocking the vaccination which means that more healthy people who seldom see a doctor are more likely to be covered.

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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