September 2018    
         
         
 
     
     
  Fever pitch  
     
     
  UChicago Medicine offers tips to get you through flu season.  
     
     
  It's the most infectious time of the year--flu season, and it can last as long as six months. UChicago Medicine has practical tips to help avoid, identify, and prevent spreading flu.  
     
     
  An ounce of prevention:  
     
     
  Get a flu shot. It can keep you from contracting the virus or minimize its severity. (It also builds herd immunity.) The shot can take two weeks to kick in, so think ahead.  
     
     
  Protect your face. Don't let people sneeze directly on you (probably instinctually) and don't touch your face (probably unconsciously).  
     
     
  Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces. Luckily influenza "isn't hard to kill," says UChicago infectious disease specialist Emily Landon.  
     
     
  So you've done what you can but still feel like garbage. Do you have the flu or a cold? Check your symptoms below.  
     
     
   
 
     
  Is it just a cold or is it the flu? (Infographic by Ellie Leacock, based on an interview with Emily Landon, adapted by Chloe Reibold)  
     
 
     
     
  If you think you have the flu and it's been less than 48 hours since you started feeling sick, your doctor can give you a test and prescribe antivirals. And remember, when you have to cough or sneeze, do it like Dracula (pdf)--into your cape/sleeve.  
     
 
 
 
     
  Six more insights into influenza  
     
     
 
     
  1  
     
 
Last year's dominant flu strain was especially dangerous to the elderly in part because of "original antigenic sin"--the concept that the first flu virus you contract imprints a memory on your immune system.
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
  2  
     
 
A better understanding of that imprinting could lead to a universal flu vaccine.
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
  3  
     
 
The gene editing tool CRISPR helps identify targets for new flu antiviral drugs.
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
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A majority of flu vaccines are grown in chicken eggs, but this method makes them less effective in humans.
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
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A massive data analysis, including Twitter posts and insurance claims, shows how flu migrates through the United States.
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
  6  
     
 
The Centers for Disease Control offers a primer on the ABCs (and Hs and Ns) of influenza.
 
     
 
     
 
         
         
    Spotlight    
         
         
 
     
     
  Retroviral  
     
     
   
 
     
  In January 1941, 500 students at the University of Chicago receive a new type of influenza vaccine to test its efficacy. (UChicago Photographic Archive, apf4-01517, University of Chicago Library)  
     
 
     
     
  Isidore S. Falk, professor of bacteriology and hygiene at the University of Chicago, announced on December 12, 1929, that he and his team had isolated pleomorphic Streptococcus, believed at the time to be the influenza germ.  
     
     
  According to the January 1930 University of Chicago Magazine, the announcement came a year to the day after the search began, during the height of the 1928 flu epidemic. All 18 members of the lab became ill, including research assistant Ruth McKinney, whose blood provided the sample that was finally isolated. After identifying the bacterium, the team attempted to prepare a vaccine using the killed microbes.  
     
     
  Never heard of Falk? That's because in 1933 it was discovered that a variety of viruses cause the flu, and in 1938 Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis developed the first flu vaccine. Salk built on this experience to develop his famous polio vaccine in 1952.  
     
 
 
     
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