Flu and You: Virus widespread in half the states
January 28th, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Flu and You: Virus widespread in half the states

Half of the states have widespread flu activity, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From January 16 to 22, flu activity increased and three flu-related deaths were reported in children, according to the CDC. During this flu season, which started in October, there have been 13 confirmed pediatric deaths.

The highest levels of flu-like activities were reported in the South and Southeast, including Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia and North Carolina. FULL POST

December 27th, 2010
09:16 AM ET

Is nasal mucus always a sign of infection?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Question asked by Amy, Minnesota:

Is colored (yellow, green or brown) nasal mucus always a sign of infection?

Expert answer:

Thanks for your question. Nasal discharge that is yellow, green or brown can be a sign of an infection of the upper respiratory tract. In the vast majority of instances, the infection is caused by a common cold virus and will get better on its own within seven to 10 days.


CDC: More pregnant women received flu shots
December 2nd, 2010
02:03 PM ET

CDC: More pregnant women received flu shots

Significantly more pregnant women received the flu vaccine during last year's flu season, than in the previous 2 years according to data collected by the Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) in 10 states.

According to a report published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 50.7 percent of pregnant women received a seasonal flu vaccine and 46.6 percent got an H1N1 flu vaccine during the 2009/2010 flu season.  Last year there were two flu shots because the H1N1 virus surfaced as the dominant flu strain after the regular flu vaccine was already in production.


What is H5N1?
November 18th, 2010
12:43 PM ET

What is H5N1?

H5N1 sounds like a random collection of letters and numbers, but to doctors who specialize in the flu it spells the name of a fearsome enemy. Unlike even a severe strain of typical or seasonal flu, H5N1 – which is a type of bird flu – causes critical illness or death in a majority of those it sickens. 

A person infected with bird flu typically becomes feverish and within a day or two develops trouble breathing, as the virus lodges in the lower respiratory tract.  A substantial number of patients have diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Taken early in the illness, the antiviral medications Tamiflu and Relenza can help, but with or without treatment about 60 percent of all patients die. FULL POST

Topical rub eases kids' cold symptoms, study says
November 8th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Topical rub eases kids' cold symptoms, study says

Although Vicks VapoRub is often used to fight colds and congestion, there has never been proof of how well it works. Now, new research reported in the journal Pediatrics finds, the combination of camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oils actually does ease cold symptoms and help children suffering from upper-respiratory infections sleep.


Daily exercise helps keep the sniffles away
November 1st, 2010
07:01 PM ET

Daily exercise helps keep the sniffles away

Regular exercise can improve your mood, help you lose weight, and add years to your life. Still need another reason to hit the gym? A new study suggests that working out regularly helps ward off colds and flu.


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Filed under: Cold and flu • Exercise

October 7th, 2010
12:08 PM ET

Very early results are in for flu vaccine

It's time to get a flu shot, and unlike a year ago, the vaccine is readily available and providing good coverage for the types of flu viruses circulating, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Flu activity was low this summer, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and the strains of flu that have emerged in some sporadic outbreaks are all contained in this year's seasonal flu vaccine.

Last year at this time, the first H1N1 vaccines were just starting to trickle out.  A separate flu shot and spray had to be produced because the seasonal flu vaccine didn't not include protection from the then-new pandemic H1N1 flu virus. That's because the new virus emerged after production of the seasonal flu vaccine began.


September 9th, 2010
11:38 AM ET

Pediatricians urge mandatory flu vaccine for health workers

Everyone who works in a health care setting should be required get a flu vaccine, according to a policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Wednesday.

The AAP says the rate of doctors, nurses, emergency responders and other health care workers who participate in voluntary vaccination campaigns is "unacceptably low."


August 26th, 2010
04:47 PM ET

Flu deaths 'a moving target,' CDC says

When it comes to estimating how many people will die annually from the flu, the Centers for Disease Control says averages just don't explain the full picture.

"Flu is really unpredictable," explains Dr. David Shay, a medical officer with the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "Flu deaths are a moving target."


August 20th, 2010
01:46 PM ET

Flu shots available now

During a scorching summer,  flu shots may not be the first thing on your mind. But, drug store giants are making them available now.

The early availability of these shots follows new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all people aged six months and older should receive the vaccine. The agency also said that the annual flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the flu season, into December, January, and beyond. Read more here about protecting yourself.


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.