×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Boston Declares Health Emergency Due To Massive Flu Outbreak

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the what-animal-can-we-blame-this-year dept.

Medicine 316

skade88 writes "Boston has seen 10 times more flu cases this year than last. They are now up to 700 cases and counting, with 18 deaths in the city. The city of Boston has declared a public health emergency in the wake of the epidemic. 'The CDC said the proportion of people visiting health care providers with flu-like symptoms climbed from 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent in four weeks. By contrast, the rate peaked at only 2.2 percent during the relatively mild 2011-2012 flu season. The estimated rate of flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. was 8.1 per 100,000 people, which is high for this time of year, according to Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch of the CDC’s influenza division. The agency’s next advisory will be issued Friday.' As previously discussed on Slashdot it would also be nice for your friends and coworkers for you to stay home if you are sick."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

316 comments

Oh my... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538299)

*fart* Oops excuse me. I dropped an Obama in my pants.

Good Advice (3, Informative)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42538337)

Why do people wait for an epidemic to stay home when they are sick? If you are sick, don't go out! If you do, you are part of the problem.

Re:Good Advice (4, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year ago | (#42538351)

Beep wrong answer in America...

Most workplaces don't have paid sick leave. Honestly, it is what it is, and this what Americans want. Hence this is what America gets.

Re:Good Advice (3)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42538371)

I am an American. By the way, many companies will punish you for coming to work sick now, especially in retail and food service positions where you might infect the customers.

Re:Good Advice (4, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year ago | (#42538459)

"many" does not imply policy. I have American friends and lived there for a while. The problem is that folks want to earn a living and either they take it from their vacation (which people do not want to do) or they just come to work and hide it as best as they can.

I find your comment quite odd on how society deals with a problem. They punish, instead of just changing policy into a better policy. Either way there are society costs. At least with sick paid leave people will be assured that they can continue to earn a living.

Re:Good Advice (1, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42538539)

You act like everyone is really sick. Facts are there are morons who abuse the system because they don't want to go to work, and as a result everyone is punished for it. Those people force businesses to write Draconian sick day policies.

Re:Good Advice (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42538657)

How are they forcing companies to do that?

I think you mean these companies like to use that as an excuse to save a couple bucks on what used to be a normal part of compensation. Everything will have some level of abuse, the ideal is to keep it to a minimum you will never not have it. It sure is a convenient excuse to screw the rest of the workers though.

Re:Good Advice (1, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42538717)

I forgot, all corporations are evil. Meanwhile in the real world people are calling in sick to go party, sleep in, or because they need more vacation time.

Re:Good Advice (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42538743)

I never said such a thing.
Many corporations still offer this benefit.

Just your claims are mostly BS. Most people need the money too much to call in sick when sick or when they want to do something else.

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538921)

But you had to have! Disagreeing with corporate policies means you're a communist!

Re:Good Advice (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42538933)

I forgot, all corporations are evil. Meanwhile in the real world people are calling in sick to go party, sleep in, or because they need more vacation time.

Anecdotes:

They do not equal evidence.

To quote the meme, pics or it didn't happen.

Re:Good Advice (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#42539095)

Cough ... "I"m not feeling well" happens to fall on first day of Duck Season (or big game day, or round of golf)

I get sick days, paid. But I know people that take all of their sick days for whatever reason and then when they DO get sick, don't have any and end up whining about not having enough sick days. Dude you went duck hunting (sick day) and got sick now that you're out of sick days ... I have no sympathy.

On the other hand, don't get the flu, it sucks. And all those flu vaccines aren't helping.

http://prn.fm/2013/01/08/gary-null-flu-vaccine/#axzz2HWMRMGv4 [prn.fm]

Re:Good Advice (0)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#42539147)

The plural of anecdote is not evidence. Provide some actual evidence that more than a tiny minority of workers actually do this. I won't hold my breath.

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538709)

Ah, yes. The "cutting off your nose to spite your face" reaction. Sorry, it's still stupid despite your attempt at defending it.

Re:Good Advice (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year ago | (#42538821)

And those "draconian sick day policies" force sick workers to come in sick and risk infecting others.

The morons writing the policies because of the morons abusing it bred the coil.

Re:Good Advice (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#42538677)

Most American employees work for someone who offers sick leave. However, most larger organizations also charge the first day or two against personal leave (aka vacation) to prevent abuses. Often this day will be "refunded" if people get a doctor's excuse.

Re:Good Advice (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538857)

Oh yes, the doctor's note. Well isn't THAT just a wonderful thing to go get. Let's take a look at my options:

1. Lie in bed, eat some nyquil and chicken noodle soup, and sleep the sickness away to let your body heal.
2. Sit in a waiting room for 6 hours, surrounded by dozens of people sick with everything under the sun while you're immune system is compromised, only to have a doctor look at you for 3 seconds, tell you you have a cold or whatever, followed by paying $30 for the doctor's note. After that, I can go home after essentially putting in the equivelant hours of a full day's work surrounded by sick people, get nowhere even remotely close to enough sleep and rest to heal, and be 10 times as sick due to the dozen other things I caught.

Yeah, option 2 sounds awesome, thanks workplace.

Re:Good Advice (3, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year ago | (#42539133)

Ever put the Nyquil *in* the chicken soup? Yeah, bad fevers make the most horrid ideas seem like bright and shiny inventive genius. :-)

Re:Good Advice (2)

gv250 (897841) | about a year ago | (#42539031)

Most American employees work for someone who offers sick leave.

I used to believe that. However, I've recently worked for two fortune-100 companies, and one startup spun off from one of them. In each of these companies, leave is called "PTO" or "paid time off." The idea is that you have a single account for earned time off -- you use it whether you are sick or on vacation. In essence, you are required to use vacation days for *every* sick day.

Re:Good Advice (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42538485)

But by default you won't be paid if you stay home, so there's still an incentive to try to come in and hide it if you feel you're at all on the borderline, and to come back as soon as you no longer look visibly sick (even if you're still contagious).

Some employers do give their employees a certain number of sick days to reduce that incentive, but labor law in most states doesn't require it, and many employers don't. For example, neither Starbucks nor McDonald's offer sick days to their retail workers. Oddly, they do offer sick days to their non-retail workers (office employees, e.g. accountants, managers, etc.), despite those employees not being customer-facing. Perhaps they care about whether corporate HQ is sick more than whether customers get sick. :P

Re:Good Advice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538781)

Oddly, they do offer sick days to their non-retail workers
Most places that are like that are lucky to get a full crew to come in on time... Remember they are paying the minimum they are required to by law. You get what you pay for.

My wife used to work at a place like that. She found out a few years ago from one of her old managers that she was on the top of the list of people to call when someone bailed. She went ballistic as she was called in pretty much every day that she was not scheduled to work. There is a reason you can pretty much get a job at mcdonalds. They have a huge turnover and many times a crew who doesnt want to bother to show up...

I am sure at one point they had sick days. Then it was probably abused up and down. So guess what?...

Re:Good Advice (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42538927)

So they got rid of them as a cost saving measure?

They could solve this problem, but it would require sick leave and a pay level higher than minimum wage. Why would someone worry about keeping a job that pays that little? Not like there is any risk of not finding another one.

Re:Good Advice (1, Interesting)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year ago | (#42539181)

But in CorporationLand, the important thing is to maximize the profits at all costs. The best way to maximize those profits is to pay the minimum possible wage with zero benefits - and if the person doesn't show up enough times, hire another desperate drone from the huddled masses of the unemployed and abuse them until they leave or find a better job. You get what you hire of course, but since its for a job that has no future and is simple enough to learn, they don't have to have high standards.
Sure, if they paid a better wage and offered decent benefits they would retain more employees and have more loyal workers but suspect the current system is working better for them.
Where I am living the minimum wage is $8.75/hr I believe. A study from a year or two ago determined that you need to be making at least $15/hr in order to have an acceptable minimum standard of living in the same community. The average price of a house here is $603k. Thus, the average person will never own a house here and will be stuck renting. Since there are no rent controls, rent continues to climb while wages drop.

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539121)

a crew who doesn't want to bother to show up...

Would you care about showing up to a shit job with no advancement? There's no concept of a career here or any sense of loyalty from the corporation. I'd say McDonalds is as uncaring and apathetic to their employees as the minimum wage employees are to McDonalds.

Re:Good Advice (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year ago | (#42539145)

Some employers do give their employees a certain number of sick days to reduce that incentive, but labor law in most states doesn't require it, and many employers don't.

The worse place I worked at thought they'd be smart and reward people who stay healthy by combining 2 weeks vacation and 2 weeks sick time into 4 weeks of combined sick and vacation time. Instead, people scheduled 4 weeks of vacation at the beginning of the year, and they all had to come in even when violently sick so as to not use up their "vacation" time. You would not believe the amount of wheezing and coughing on a daily basis.

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538571)

I work from home and have no real world contact with the people I work just email and phone. Since I'm not going to give anything to my coworkers I have no problem working when I'm sick even though have paid sick leave to spare, besides if I take a day off I won't get that overtime pay.

Re:Good Advice (2)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year ago | (#42538575)

They punish you if you take a sick day, they punish you if you come in sick. Do they expect you to be 100% until you're dead?

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538813)

Yes. That is the very definition of a good taxpayer.

Re:Good Advice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538655)

You obviously don't know anyone who works in the restaurant industry. Go ask any student waiting tables if they get to choose to come in or not (without losing their job at least). And for the ones who are not 'supposed to' come it, do you think they get paid to stay home? Given the choice between not paying rent at the end of the month and taking a handful of medication to get out bed and then sneezing in your food, they are going to sneeze in your food every time.

Re:Good Advice (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42538761)

I am an American

Are you sure?

By the way, many companies will punish you for coming to work sick now

That is easily the strangest thing I've ever heard. I've literally never heard of such a thing in all my decades.

I think we're more likely to see the Republicans convert en mass to Islam or we'll see Karl Marx carved into mt rushmore before any american company will try to increase sick days taken. Its just too easy of a metric to grade "resources" and their supervisors.

I really have to point out, that having had the actual real flu in the past, if you have it, you'll be so sick there is no way you'll make it to work unless you're Hercules himself. If you're physically able to go to work, trust me, its almost certain you just have a minor cold or a minor cough or at most a weak case of walking pneumonia. If your only symptom is you have a slightly stuffy nose, thats a cold, not the flu. When your fever is 103+ and you feel like you can barely get out of bed and you feel like you're about to cough out a lung, now thats the start of the flu.

Re:Good Advice (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42538825)

Yeah, as someone who had the real flu a few years ago I agree. The best description I ever heard was "The first few days I was afraid it would kill me, after that I was afraid it would not."

Re:Good Advice (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#42538619)

and this what Americans want.

No, actually this isn't what Americans "want". The corporate policies pretty much force a take-it-or-leave-it policy. I think the last explanation I heard from HR when griping about benefits being cut (yet again) was "Be glad you have a job in this economy".

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539055)

#tinfoilHat #releasedStrains

Good thing we've got ObamaCare

Re:Good Advice (2)

RearNakedChoke (1102093) | about a year ago | (#42538635)

Even places that do have paid sick leave, its rationed. So I will make a decision, each time I'm sort of sick, whether or not its worth it to use one of my 5 sick days, or whether I think I'll get REALLY sick in the future and should save for that day.

Employers need to actively encourage/have contingency plans for sick people. Especially for office workers, to have a working telecommuting policy/system in place so that a person can not only easily work from home on a mildly sick day, but be encouraged to work from home and still be productive without infecting others.

Re:Good Advice (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year ago | (#42538887)

My employer here in California actively encourages people to stay home when sick. They recently did the move where personal time and sick time got combined, but they increased the accrual rates versus time served so it winds up pretty much the same as it was when it was Sick + Vacation. Some sort of tax thing, we figure.

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538953)

Hence this is what America gets.

A couple days of 'head cold' with a fever about once a year. The human condition, in other words.

This Annual CDC+media fueled flu hysteria is a recent innovation. The fact that so many deluded fools think this a matter of public policy and some great failing that it hasn't been fixed yet is the only actual problem here.

Life, people. It isn't perfect. Please stop indulging rage and hate because it isn't perfect.

Not always the case (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about a year ago | (#42538975)

I work with some people who have NOTHING else to do, hence they come in. There are even a few malicious types about too....

I mean, we can work from home and I know people who come to work to get away from the family.... and being sick is no reason for them to stay home.

So yeah, while some might come in because of unpaid sick time there are far too many who come in because they either don't know better, don't care, or don't have anything else to do.

Re:Good Advice (0)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year ago | (#42539109)

Most workplaces don't have paid sick leave. Honestly, it is what it is, and this what Americans want. Hence this is what America gets.

Honestly, Americans "want" a whole lot more of fucked up stuff, like a dysfunctional healthcare system that does not cover 50 million of its citizens and it's still expensive.

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539129)

I get a whopping five days per year of "vacation" time, which I have to use towards any sick days or appointments. When I had the flu last week, I came back to work as soon as I was able to make it through a day, instead of waiting until I felt I was 100% back to normal (would have taken an extra three days if I'd done the latter). But I can't afford three unpaid days (used up the last of my vacation on the days I did take).

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539173)

I was told to come in, despite having a fever, not being able to walk due to dizziness and coughing uncontrollably about every five seconds, day and night.
The quality of work I did that day does not bear the light of day.

You don't say "screw that, I'm sick" to your boss when you live in a right-to-fire state. They can wait a week, fire you without giving a reason, and you have no recourse.

Stay home two weeks? (2)

Catbeller (118204) | about a year ago | (#42539251)

You'd have to stay home until your symptoms disappear, as you're contagious the entire time. Not even the most liberal workplace would allow that.

And it might kill millions, some day, our addiction to "productivity". One bad virus plus our right-to-work culture will equal one mighty epidemic.

Re:Good Advice (5, Interesting)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year ago | (#42538417)

It's fairly simple. When employers insist that you need to go to a doctor when you are sick and get proof or they won't believe that you were, then people decide "if I have to go out anyway, I may as well go to work."
Also, when one person in an office is very sick, then they get a lot of negative attention. If it spreads and a number of people get sick, then they were one of the unlucky ones.

I used to stay home when sick, until I had a manager who told me that if I took any more time off I would probably lose my job. So when I next got the flu I took drugs and went to work. I can tell you though, I really enjoyed my lengthy closed door meeting with him and HR that day. I don't think they were happy I scheduled that meeting.

Re:Good Advice (3, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42538591)

Yea, going to the doctor, waiting half an hour or more, spending at least at $30 copay (assuming you actually have insurance worth a damn) to be told "yep, you're sick" - sounds like a good idea...

Re:Good Advice (1)

Verteiron (224042) | about a year ago | (#42538769)

Don't forget incubating for 15+ minutes in a cramped room with a lot of other sick people, all coughing and sneezing. If you weren't sick when you arrived, you certainly will be when you leave.

Re:Good Advice (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | about a year ago | (#42538669)

Who pays for the doctor visit? Also I now have to drag myself to a doctor's office and wait for who knows how long, rather than resting in bed?

Re:Good Advice (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42538707)

American insurance typically involves the patient paying part of the fee, usually 10-40 dollars depending on the service. It is to discourage us from going to the doctor when there's nothing wrong with us.

Re:Good Advice (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42538829)

It is to discourage us from going to the doctor when there's nothing wrong with us.

You know, like when you're home sick with a cold or the flu.

Re:Good Advice (3, Funny)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year ago | (#42539015)

Who pays for the doctor visit? Also I now have to drag myself to a doctor's office and wait for who knows how long, rather than resting in bed?

Damn right - I self-diagnose myself over the internet. (Resting in bed right now with a bad case of leprosy compounded by Muelenbach syndrome. Don't worry though - I'll be fine on Monday).

Re:Good Advice (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#42538453)

If you are sick, don't go out! If you do, you are part of the problem.

By the time you're sick (aka showing symptoms), you've already been infectious for at least a day.

The real solution is to get vaccinated and hope that the pharmaceutical companies guessed correctly about this year's strain.

Re:Good Advice (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42538563)

But you may still be infectious, best to limit exposure, even if you've already contaminated some people you can avoid contaminating others. Re-contamination is also a problem.

Re:Good Advice (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about a year ago | (#42538793)

The decision for what strains to use is not up to the pharmaceutical companies. It's up to each government to decide what to use in vaccines licensed in that country, based on recommendations from a group of the five World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centers for Reference and Research on Influenza. One of which is the CDC in the U.S.

In the U.S., the decision is then made by the FDA based on the CDC/WHO recommendations.

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/virusqa.htm [cdc.gov]

Re:Good Advice (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about a year ago | (#42538757)

Yeah, that's real possible for those of us who live alone. We have to go out in order to do those fairly unimportant things like buying groceries, or medicine, or...

Re:Good Advice (1)

assertation (1255714) | about a year ago | (#42538807)

Why do people wait for an epidemic to stay home when they are sick? If you are sick, don't go out! If you do, you are part of the problem.

In the United States many people have jobs without paid sick leave or very SMALL alotments of sick leave that are quickly used up.

You don't show up for work, you get paid less and you may not have enough money to cover everything you hoped to cover.

That is why.

Re:Good Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539035)

Stay home while sick... rofl. not in this country.
In the usa you don't even stay home DURING an epidemic.
If you don't work you don't get paid.
And are likely to be fired or laid off. Oh sure they won't come right out and say it was because you took 3 days off to barf your guts up.
No.. You'll be fired for something that can't be proven either way. Something like 'not a team player'.

99% of the times i've ever been sick it was because some coworker came to work while sick and infected the rest of us.

You are a 100% completely replaceable drone (even when you're not)
And now with our shit economy. It's even more true. There's 200 people standing in line to take your job if you fuckup in the tiniest way possible.

Oh what? Don't work for such a crappy employer? Well guess what. The vast majority of them are like that now. And getting worse.

And it's only going to get worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538393)

Here's a fun fact to contemplate. The version wandering the US right now is H3N2. The prevalent strain making the rounds in China is H1N1. How long before it crosses the pacific and starts round two of the process. Folks if you haven't gotten vaccinated against this yet. DO IT NOW! These strains are no fun and the current vaccine is supposedly a good match against the strains most prevalent.

Re:And it's only going to get worse. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#42538429)

Here's a fun fact to contemplate. The version wandering the US right now is H3N2. The prevalent strain making the rounds in China is H1N1. How long before it crosses the pacific and starts round two of the process. Folks if you haven't gotten vaccinated against this yet. DO IT NOW! These strains are no fun and the current vaccine is supposedly a good match against the strains most prevalent.

Which strains were in this year's vaccine?

Re:And it's only going to get worse. (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#42538455)

Here's a fun fact to contemplate. The version wandering the US right now is H3N2. The prevalent strain making the rounds in China is H1N1. How long before it crosses the pacific and starts round two of the process. Folks if you haven't gotten vaccinated against this yet. DO IT NOW! These strains are no fun and the current vaccine is supposedly a good match against the strains most prevalent.

Which strains were in this year's vaccine?

Oops, answered my own question:

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm315365.htm [fda.gov]

Based on that information and the recommendations of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, the strains selected for inclusion in the 2012-2013 flu vaccines are:
A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.

Re:And it's only going to get worse. (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42538433)

Fortunately one of the entities I work for forces all employees to be vaccinated (it's free), so I am covered. I also get free mandatory TB testing which is peace of mind. Personally I think more employers should mandate (but provide for free) flu vaccines every season. Would greatly improve productivity and popular health.

Re:And it's only going to get worse. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42538721)

Mandatory TB testing would suck for me. Outside the US vaccination for this is common. Made it tough for me as a kid when we switched schools.

Flu shots (3, Insightful)

golodh (893453) | about a year ago | (#42538415)

This looks like a good opportunity to study how effective flu shots are.

I'd like to see a breakdown of flu patients by whether they had a flu shot in the past 6 months.

If it's effective, probably best to mandate flu shots for health care workers, shop attendants, and all civil servants.

Re:Flu shots (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#42538517)

Or it could be that people who get flu shots are still carriers and are spreading it even more and with now stronger strains (having battled with a strengthened immune system recently).

Re:Flu shots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538645)

Great idea, but maybe we should go further and require all vaccines and drugs to undergo testing prior to sale to the public. Otherwise anyone could stick snake oil in a bottle and sell it as flu vaccine.

Re:Flu shots (2)

kwerle (39371) | about a year ago | (#42538749)

My partner is a nurse. Her choices are:
* Get a flu shot
or
* Wear a surgical mask for the flu months while at work (I think that's December-February)

Re:Flu shots (0)

Tack (4642) | about a year ago | (#42539065)

Hopefully the second option is only available to her if she has a demonstrated allergy or other adverse reaction to the flu shot? Otherwise, the two choices ought to be "get a flu shot" or "find another job" given how well established the risk-benefit is.

Re:Flu shots (1)

kwerle (39371) | about a year ago | (#42539153)

Meh. Wearing a mask for 3 months sucks - I don't know of anyone at her hospital that does it. But I think it's a fair option.

The flu shot is supposed to keep you safe from some limited number of flu viruses, right? A mask ought to block 'em all (and more) - as efficiently as a mask does. Dunno how well that is.

Re:Flu shots (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42539253)

My partner is a nurse. Her choices are:
* Get a flu shot
or
* Wear a surgical mask for the flu months while at work (I think that's December-February)

Personally, I'd go with option 2, if for nothing other than the style factor.

OK, so maybe a surgical mask isn't all that stylish... but it does seriously freak some people's shit when you wear one in public!

Re:Flu shots (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42538785)

That could be very misleading. People who are elderly, immunocompromised or exposed to sick people via work are the most likely to be immunized.

You would need to do a real double blind study. Pick some population give half the real deal and the other half saline and wait and see what happens.

I'm home sick, now. (3, Insightful)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year ago | (#42538519)

A couple of my coworkers came to work sick over the last two weeks. I asked them why they come to work when they are sick- they are dentists at a public heath clinic,and should now better, but they come to work any way. Their response: they feel like they have to be there. Starting their own mini epidemic among patients and coworkers...

Maybe the problem is that unused sick time can be rolled into vacation time.

Re:I'm home sick, now. (1)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#42538597)

Where should the treshhold to sick be drawn? A light cough and running nose would mean me staying at home ~1 month per year.

24,000 Americans die each year (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#42538547)

While the CDC does not keep a tab of deaths overall from the flu, it estimates that 24,000 Americans die each year.

Why doesn't the CDC keep tabs on overall deaths from the flu?
You can make policy without hard numbers, but you will never know if the policy is effective.

Re:24,000 Americans die each year (2)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#42538643)

Elderly and children do not respond with classic symptoms always, along with possible co-infections and whatnot else it's pretty hard to tell if it's actually flu, some passing other infection, or other natural causes.

Re:24,000 Americans die each year (4, Informative)

kwerle (39371) | about a year ago | (#42538683)

While the CDC does not keep a tab of deaths overall from the flu, it estimates that 24,000 Americans die each year.

Why doesn't the CDC keep tabs on overall deaths from the flu?
You can make policy without hard numbers, but you will never know if the policy is effective.

Huh.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm [cdc.gov]
...

Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
...

Re:24,000 Americans die each year (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#42538773)

It's essentially impossible to do so. Influenza itself is not guaranteed to appear in the list of factors contributing to death on the death certificate. Respiratory failure, bronchitis, pneumonia, sepsis, cardiomyopathy, multi-system organ failure - all are likely to be true. Who knows if you'll get "influenza" on that list?

Re:24,000 Americans die each year (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42538881)

You plan on testing every corpse?

Odds are the cause of death on the certificate will be organ failure, pneumonia, or something like that. This makes it very hard to track those numbers.

Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538573)

So how many government flu prevention programs were underfunded because republicans felt wars are a better use of our borrowed money? How did Bush cause this crisis?

Re:Republicans (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#42538675)

Why is it the government's responsibility to prevent people getting the flu, when people already know how not to get it and simply choose to engage in the risky behaviors that result in getting and transmitting it?

Re:Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538905)

Yeah, let's put all these sick motherfuckers in jail! That'll teach them to get sick and miss work.

Help! (2)

DeTech (2589785) | about a year ago | (#42538577)

I work/Live in boston and half the office is out and all I hear around me is coughing/sneezing/sniffling... If I didn't have to be here this week I'd be telecommuting but alias I'm boned. Anybody got any great ideas for combating this outbreak in a open lab type environment.

Re:Help! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538755)

There used to be a product called zycam, or something like that. It used zinc swabs in the nose that prevented sickness or made it nearly minimal.

The government has outlawed the product and if you didn't buy in bulk before the ban you might be able to use that. Anyways, I don't understand the problem, Obmamacare has fixed all of our healthcare problems and balanced the budget by doing so. I don't know why there are these stories about flu epidemics or issues needed to raise the debt ceiling again, both those issues have been solved. I guess Fox News is causing the flu outbreak and forcing the government to overspend.

Re:Help! (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42538945)

It was a high dose of zinc plus some homeopathic garbage, any person with a science background should be laughing. It did have enough zinc, however, to cause quite a few people to overdose. From my experience welding galvanized sheetmetal (don't do this at home kids) this is to be strongly avoided, but somewhat below the dosage required for semi-permanent flu like symptoms, you'll get semi-permanent loss of smell.

Re:Help! (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#42538861)

Go to a hardware store and look for an N95 Respirator mask. That will protect you against everything (including TB) if it's properly fitted.

Re:Help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538903)

take a high dose of vitamin D daily, gargle Listerine a few times a day. they say it doesn't help, but anything that kills germs is a help. the D will help bolster the immune system along with every thing else in your body. its just all round good for you.

g luck

Re:Help! (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42539059)

anything that kills germs is a help

LOL inflaming your skin and mucous membranes is the exact opposite of what you want to do... Its like telling a guy with a paper cut that the best treatment is rubbing salt and dirt into the wound.

Re:Help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538907)

http://www.filteryourlife.com/

Re:Help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539049)

I work/Live in boston and half the office is out and all I hear around me is coughing/sneezing/sniffling... If I didn't have to be here this week I'd be telecommuting but alias I'm boned. Anybody got any great ideas for combating this outbreak in a open lab type environment.

Your alias is 'Boned'? Bad choice, I'd say.

Re:Help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539247)

Bring a bat or other suitable melee weapon. Aim for the head, but cowardice is a valor and bravery makes you dead. Wear heavy leather, don't forget the gloves. Upgrade to riot gear when you can. Stay away from crowds. Leave remorse at the door and don't cry over lost love ones. Seek secure shelter, water, food, and friends, in that order. And remember to vet the friends, too often they can be a net loss. You can survive this. Be strong.

CDC doesn't show this (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42538599)

I'm confused WRT

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/ [cdc.gov]

I was just looking there this morning and thought to myself, how nice it is that the peak is already over, and the flu season has begun its decline.

I do see that its "normal" that a "bad year" has about 10 times the deaths as a "good year". So about twice as bad as last year (a "good" year) it doesn't look like its the end of the world yet.

I did look at some historical records and the higher the peaks seem to go with earlier peaks, this peak being somewhere in between would imply its a moderately bad year.

Not quite 1918 yet, or ?

Staying home when sick... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42538671)

... isn't always viable, unless you happen to have a tidy nestegg of funds sitting in reserve to tide you over while you recover. Not to mention the fact that your workload is only going to be that much worse (and in turn, more stressful, which is bad for your health) when you return because perish the thought if management should have to try to figure out, without any warning, how to redelegate some of your job to others while you are away.

Thank you anti-vaxers! (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year ago | (#42538695)

I hope you're proud of yourselves. How does it feel to be accessories to completely unnecessary deaths?

Re:Thank you anti-vaxers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538879)

But, but, but, mercury and toxins!

Yep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538789)

I think this was the first year where i got the flu when i didn't get a shot.
Every other time in my life when I've got the flu? I got the shot.
I believe in a lot of vaccines, but I'll /never/ believe in the flu shot.

Natural Selection in the Workplace (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539117)

I worked at a place where a woman with raging H1N1 came in, and most of my department was laid up for over a week.

Her reason:

        She was out of sick days.
        She didn't want to be put on probation.
        She wanted to complete her project for the company.

Reasonable, but when I asked her in depth with a bunch of people at a 3-martini lunch, she continued with:

        If people are sick, it would lag the project enough for her to catch up.
        Sick people would show a drop in performance at their next review, increasing her chances for a raise.
        If enough people are out, it might force a reorg, and she would transfer to a better department. (75% would be fired during the reorg.)

Yes. It's not always about having to come into work when sick for the company. Sometimes people are just evil.

Thats it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539243)

700 cases in a city that is as big as boston? Thats not much for the flu really since the flu is incredibly easy to spread it shouldnt be a surprise. Boston has like 650,000 people in it, 700 isnt a small percent for something as easily transmittable as the flu.

And 18 deaths? Chances are those are the very elderly, or people already compromised to the point where anything would kill them. If the deaths were in the hundreds then it would be something to worry about but 18 out of 650k? Thats nothing. Chances are that 18 would have died this year anyway. Its just with the flu going around a little more than usual it caught up with them.

People die every year from the flu. It can not be avoided. There will always be thousands of deaths related to the flu because almost every person who does die is elderly and or infirm, people that are so close to death all it takes is a little nudge to get pushed over into it. Hell you get a decent sized old folks home and let a kid in there to see grandma with the flu and every person there will be sick and a few will die.

People seem to forget WE DIE. Especially old people and the flu kills lots of them because its too much for their body. You cant stop it.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...