Saturday, January 25, 2020

What People Need To Know About The Flu

I am very grateful for all the good wishes that people sent after the tragic passing of my young cousin Deganit "Duggi" Zarum-Glick, due to complications arising from the flu.

A number of people contacted me to ask that surely I must have been mistaken about the cause of Duggi's passing. Surely only the elderly, or those with pre-existing conditions, die from flu? Surely it's not necessary for young people to get vaccinated?

Alas, this is indeed the case. It's true that young healthy people do not usually die from flu, and my cousin's case was sufficiently unusual that it appears in the press. But it is not unknown. This year's flu strain is particularly dangerous, and there have already been 40 fatalities in Israel, including with several young, otherwise healthy people. In the US, tens of thousands of people die every year from complications arising from the flu. In fact, bacterial pneumonia is such a common sequel of the flu that the US government's vital statistics do not separate deaths from pneumonia and deaths from influenza.

Unfortunately, Israel is experiencing a severe national shortage of vaccines. I know many people who have been trying for weeks to get vaccinated, and it's just impossible. Most of the Kupot Cholim just don't have the vaccine in stock. Someone in the field explained to me that the Kuput were caught by surprise; they order vaccines from abroad in accordance with expected demand, and the national vaccine rate is usually only around 20%.

There's a common misconception that the flu just knocks you out for a week or two and that's all. It's important for such misconceptions to be cleared up. And especially in light of the new coronavirus from China, it's a good idea to always observe basic hygiene precautions. Venishmartem me'od lenafshotechem.

P.S. Here is a video that Duggi made for Pesach last year, in which she sings words which are unbelievably moving at this point. (If you are suscribing to the blog via email, you will have to visit the website to see it.)

(If you'd like to subscribe to this blog via email, use the form on the right of the page, or send me an email and I will add you.)


  1. We should write to TEVA and tell them to get their act together. I had my vaccine early as a NHS worker , so i'm lucky. A lot of people think having the flu jab makes them ill, its simply not true.

    1. What's Teva got to do with it. The MoH orders vaccines from the manufacturers. Teva Israel is a distributor of some vaccines

  2. Hospitals kill not the fluJanuary 26, 2020 at 2:27 PM

    "In fact, bacterial pneumonia is such a common sequel of the flu that the US government's vital statistics do not separate deaths from pneumonia and deaths from influenza."

    I'll bet these people who died "from complications of the flu" really died from something they caught in the hospital while being treated for the flu. Tens of thousands die each year for superbugs that you only get in the hospital because they became resistant to anti biotics.

    There is an agenda to blame the flu for all these bacteria deaths because the hospitals and the health system in general don't want to accept the blame.
    My advice to all flu sufferers: Stay away from the hospital even if you have a high fever! Get a doctor to make a home visit.

    1. True. A healthy young person should be able to fight it off with medical help. But if the doctors make mistakes or the hospital is overstressed, these things sadly happen.

    2. Actually, hospitals don’t kill. Bacteria does. In any event, I haven’t taken a flu shot in years and it seems as if whenever I did take the shot I would get sick but when I avoided it, I avoided being sick altogether. Of course, it is good to take advice from people when their advice makes sense so I think I will try the flu shot next time. Maybe it will work. It seems to work for many people. Perhaps I was getting sick for other reasons. I don’t believe that the flu shot makes you sick, it could be the result of going to the hospital. Yet there are times when going to the hospital could save a life. This I know for sure, the coronavirus will probably not spread. They will contain it like they contained ebola and the bird flu.

    3. Wow, the number of medical experts here is astounding.

  3. What happened to kol isha ervah?

    1. A mother of 5 children tragically passes away at such a young age and you are worried about the fact that she is singing in a video. Nice work with the sensitivity. Maybe engage your brain and compassion BEFORE you actually send such thoughtless posts.

    2. The blog has female visitors. No-one forced you to watch it.

    3. JD
      A mother of 5 children has tragically passed away. She would not want any michshol of Halachah to come through her. A simple warning for ladies only would be appropriate in this blog which judging by posters is mainly read by men.

      Halachah is never sick

      Baal Ha Boss

      A simple warning would be appropriate for the male visitors. I was not saying he should not have posted at at all.

    4. Frimet: it's nice of R Natan to allow mentally ill people to comment on the blog.

  4. What are the precautions that are helpful against flu?

  5. Get vaccinated.

    Wash your hands.

  6. This was almost certainly a case of covid, as emerging evidence is showing the disease was more widespread earlier than previously thought, see for example here:

    this accounts for the many odd and severe cases of "flu" and "pneumonia" earlier this winter, in December and January. I recall hearing of several such cases, and now they make more sense.


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