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Alert Number 265

Flu Season: Prevention, Prevention and More Prevention …

Date: December 7, 2007

The annual flu season is upon us once again. And I thought I would reiterate some of our earlier warnings, for those of you who have joined us recently.

  1. CLL patients are less likely to have an effective response to the annual flu shot, especially if they are late stage patients or have had a lot of chemotherapy.
  2. But that does not mean they should skip getting the shot. Every little bit of protection helps, and a flu shot is one of those things that every CLL patient must do, hoping for the best.
  3. Even more important, everyone in the family of the CLL patient should get the flu shot. If no one around you has the flu, chances are you will not catch it either! This is called “Herd Immunity”. You may not be able to benefit directly from the flu shot, but it helps if you are surrounded by people who have received protection and are therefore not “typhoid Marys” themselves.
  4. Probably the single biggest thing you can do protect yourself is to practice good personal hygiene. That means washing your hands often, with soap and warm water; using alcohol gels religiously – carry a small bottle of it in your purse or pocket; avoid crowds if you can; practice “social distancing”, you can communicate holiday cheer without kissing the host / hostess! Remember kids with sniffles are cute germ factories. You know the drill – use common sense.
  5. Remember CLL patients are particularly prone to pulmonary infections. The majority of deaths in CLL occur due to pneumonia and related pulmonary conditions.

Below are links to several articles we have written on the subject of influenza, as well as links to our sponsored “Jab & Dab” clinical trial that has kicked off this year in UK. I have high hopes for this trial!

"Jab & Dab" - We Have Liftoff!;
Low Hanging Fruit;
Preparing for the Flu Season;
CLL and Chronic Pulmonary Inflammation;
Bird Flu — a Different Beast.

How prevalent is the flu bug in your neck of the woods? Below is a USA map with the flu status in each state. This was the status as of November 4, 2007. Flu activity was highest in four states, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Virginia. I suggest you save the link just above the map. The map is updated each week by the CDC, and you can get the latest status by clicking on the link. If the incidence is “widespread” in your state, it might a good idea to stay away from crowds for a while. Prevention is the name of the game!

Be well,


Flu Map

CDC's Weekly Flu Activity Map

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