It's the middle of flu season and as expected, the virus is making its way through Canada. Thousands of people are struggling with the coughs, fever, and fatigue and looking for ways to deal with the weeks of suffering. Recently, a group of American researchers have shown a new means by which flu can survive and spread.
It has been recognized for many years that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults because our immune defenses become weaker with age. While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease.
The rate of vaccine acquisition has remained relatively stable over the years suggesting the majority of Canadians are not raising their sleeves. While there is little doubt the vaccine is an excellent means to prevent infection, this message appears to be diluted by a number of other factors. For those responsible for ensuring the safety of Canadians the low turnout requires a more in-depth analysis to find a solution.
Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to keep you and your family healthy during flu season. This can be done in one of two ways: by getting the flu shot, or by getting the nasal spray flu vaccine. However, deciding which method to use has recently become more confusing. After it was announced that the nasal spray would not be used in the U.S. this year, many have wondered whether the nasal spray flu vaccine is still effective.
Much like any viral infection, the invasion leads to a shutdown of normal processes as the virus uses up all the nutrients and resources to make more copies. Yet the mechanism of this takeover has been for the most part a mystery. That may change as a group of Israeli researchers have provided a glimpse at how influenza takes over the cell.
There may be a new way to develop these vaccines safely. Last week, an international team of researchers unveiled new means to make vaccine candidates from proteins. Instead of trying to modify or clone the proteins, these researchers have come up with an entirely new concept: they use bacterial superglue.
Researchers have known the immune system plays a role in fighting the virus and other parts of the body do change. But a detailed account of what happens at the site of battle has been for the most part a mystery. Now an international team of researchers have given us a glimpse into the war happening inside.
There is some debate as to whether or not being sick at work does increase the chances for a small-scaled outbreak. After all, unless a person comes into contact with the bodily fluids of a sick person, the risk may seem remote at best. It's generally known as personal distancing of the two-metre rule.
Thanksgiving marks the arrival of another regular occurrence though most of us do not discuss at this time. It's the impending arrival of the flu. We all know the influenza virus is coming but at this time of joyous celebration, we tend to avoid this topic. The flu season doesn't usually start until November and usually doesn't make headlines until the Holiday Season.
Last week, Canadian public health officials announced the arrival of yet another potentially deadly virus on our soil. This time, the culprit was a form of influenza -- avian influenza to be exact -- known as H7N9. This marked the second time in a year a deadly influenza virus had traveled from the Far East to Canada.
It's that time of year again: flu season. Once again, the influenza virus has showed up in Canada threatening up to 20 per cent of the population. For the vaccine to be effective, it has to perfectly mimic the viruses in nature. This is actually harder than one might think as influenza is the master of evolutionary disguise.
Studies to unveil the marvels of our daily hibernation -- and the deleterious effects of deprivation -- will continue and many more discoveries will be made. In the meantime, as the cold and flu season continues to spread in Canada, we should take heed from the research suggesting slumber is critical to health.
Whatever the reasons for this epidemic, there are a few signs of hope. Like the common cold and flu, infection is entirely preventable by washing the hands with soap and water as well as regularly disinfecting surfaces. Should an infection occur, there is still only a small chance it could get worse;