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View Diary: Flu And You - Part VII (94 comments)

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  •  Who Are the 36K? (0+ / 0-)

    What is their underlying health (are feeble 90-year old nursing home patients who get the flu included in these numbers)?

    What else could the money spent on flu vaccinations be spent on?

    What about the fact that 36,000 is a tiny, tiny fraction of the U.S. population?

    •  ah... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa, mollyk

      the argument is over scarce respurces. I love that argument! Chronic disease prevention is underfunded, but changing behavior re obesity and smoking is horrendously difficult (see relentless and Mark27 talk to each other elsewhere.)

      OTOH, the idea that vaccination is a waste of money? here's sopme data to argue otherwise.

      http://www.who.int/...

      In the United States of America, for example, recent estimates put the cost of influenza epidemics to the economy at US$ 71-167 billion per year.

      That's prevention money well spent.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 08:35:25 AM PST

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      •  It May Be Difficult (0+ / 0-)

        But it's what matters. Thirty to forty million overweight kids (who will be carrying chronic health issues into adulthood and, thus, into the health care system) versus thirty-six thousand "flu related" deaths (and I see you're wholly ignoring the question about the age and underlying health of those thirty-six thousand people).

        And those economic numbers are just a broad calculation of losses of workers calling in sick, etc., and are the kind of numbers interest groups come up with to grab headlines. A far more important issue is the corporate ideal of workers never getting sick or needing to take personal days off from work, since Americans are defined by their jobs.

        Getting sick and needing to spend a couple of days getting well is a natural part of life. We'd be healthier, both mentally and physically, if we just accepted that, rather than accepting the rat-race ethics imposed by the workaholic mindset.

        The health care system in this country has, for all intents and purposes, collapsed for a majority of people. Advocating for universal flu shots is just a sideshow.

        •  you're dismissing data because it sinks your (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, mamamedusa

          argument, pletzs. I never said (and no one else did) that the only benefit to flu shots is not dying. There's a concept of "morbidity" as well as "mortality", i.e., the cost of being ill.  You're making the argument that none of that counts because you don't want it to, which is absurd. US$ 71-167 billion is a lot of money.

          Most of the deaths are in the very young and the very old, but not afaik the very overweight. but that has nothing to do with the real cost ofbeing overweight, which, as I said, is a legit and separate issue (part VI interviewed Jeff Levi of trust for america's health, which produced this report: F as in Fat 2008 How Obesity Policies are Failing in America)

          Note that is this not a zero sum game. if you asked Jeff Levi which of the TFAH reports (one on pandemic, one on obesity, or the one on disease prevention) is the "important one" he'd tell you "all of it", and so will I. Saving money on the health system with flu shots frees money for chronic disease management. So, I'm a bit perplexed that you would argue that taking care of obesity (and smoking) is good but flu shots are bad, because it's not either-or, it's both.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 09:16:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The US Health Care System (0+ / 0-)

            Is not spending $71-167 billion annually treating the flu.

            You know that.

            •  you're misreading that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling, mamamedusa

              it's the a combo of cost to the economy of being ill (lost productivity) and health care costs. When parents have their kids sick, they're missing work (or hiring help to watch them.) Etc. From WHO:

              It is recommended that elderly persons, and persons of any age who are considered at "high risk" for influenza-related complications due to underlying health conditions, should be vaccinated. Among the elderly, vaccination is thought to reduce influenza-related morbidity by 60% and influenza-related mortality by 70-80%. Among healthy adults the vaccine is very effective (70-90%) in terms of reducing influenza morbidity, and vaccination has been shown to have substantial health-related and economic benefits in this age group.

              and same reference, which I already gave you:

              Influenza rapidly spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics and imposes a considerable economic burden in the form of hospital and other health care costs and lost productivity. In the United States of America, for example, recent estimates put the cost of influenza epidemics to the economy at US$ 71-167 billion per year.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 09:31:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Like I Said (0+ / 0-)

                The number you quote is a number generated by an interest group, using very broad parameters, to create a dollar number that can then be used to grab headlines. Every interest group and candidate for office does it.

                Again, calling in sick to work isn't the end of the world, or at least shouldn't be considered such.

                •  LOL - WHO is an interest group??? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mamamedusa

                  That's a new one. What are they selling? World health?

                  Look, as Daniel Patrick Moynahan used to say, you can have your own opinion but you can't have your own facts.

                  A strong case can be made for flu shots, and it's current world policy to encourage them. As a matter of interest, poor countries like Indonesia are fighting the current system (they provide virus, industrial companies make vaccine, and sell it to poor countries at prices they cannot afford), and WHO is assisting with and mediating those negotiations. Some interest group.

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 09:40:38 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Calling in sick (0+ / 0-)

                  for many workers means lost income that then affects their ability to pay their bills and care for their children, especially for young families who already are stretched thin.

                  It's also worth noting that if a 6 year old gets the flu, a parent has to stay home with her (can't send them school or daycare) for 4-5 days... and THEN, inevitably, at least one parent will get sick, so you're looking at 10 days of illness, not 2.

                  And that's for a mild flu. Sometimes flu will be multiple weeks of dragging, nasty, lingering illness.

                  Multiply if you have more kids.

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 02:58:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Strep and flu (0+ / 0-)

      Something to keep in mind is that a flu infection seems to make people much more susceptible to opportunistic infections from various strep bacteria.

      Strep can take down anyone, any time. Jim Henson, for example.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 02:53:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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