I've been through so much these past few months that I'm terrified to get the flu. I work at a college and just had a student come in who I know is quarantined bc of the flu. He's not supposed to be in class for another week and a half. He came in all sweaty and shook my hand. I recognized the name asked him to communicate with me via email instead. I then proceeded to disinfect my desk and wash my hands. 

Is there anything I can do to prevent the flu? Other than wash my hands, etc. I went to the CDC website and they don't recommend any vitamin C or anything like that. 

I should also say my mother just got it as well. I don't live with her but I see her a few times a week. I think I saw her last week when she had it, but didn't know she was contagious yet. I feel fine, but just another point of contact that makes me nervous!

Original Post

I have worked with pre-schoolers and toddlers for years!  I carry hand sanitizer with me.  Believe me, I have been sneezed on, coughed on, had kids with pink eye, stomach viruses etc.  I don't seem to get any of these illnesses.  Maybe because of all the exposure I've had.

Gee, I don’t see that you mention you had a flu vaccine. If not, get one today. Otherwise, wash your hands and do not touch your face after handling questionable things.


Yes, Jan, I get the flu vaccine every year and also had the pneumonia vaccine as well.  Not worth tempting fate.  While we're on the topic, I had shingles a while back during a UC flare.  Just wondering what thoughts are about the shingles vaccine.  I understand there may be a new one.

I have hand sanitizer on my desk and disinfect it every few days. I wash my hands often (we have an office kitchen so that’s convenient). I also will be bringing Lysol spray into work. We see about 50-60 students a day so we get a lot of traffic! 

I get the vaccine every year, usually as year in the season as I can. I saw on the news it was only 20-25% effective this year. When I started Remicade, I had a few vaccinations- I think the Pneumonia and shingles. I agree- it couldn’t hurt. 

Even at reduced effectiveness, the flu vaccine should reduce the severity of illness if you get the flu. Try not to stress about it. The people that get deathly ill wait too long to get treatment. Not because they are foolish, but because they are used to being healthy. 


Will catching the flu with a J pouch be any different to that of person without a j pouch....  is there a risk to the J pouch ?

Here, In the Uk, certain vulnerable groups are entitled to the flu vaccine via the NHS, which as a sufferer of UC and now having a J pouch, I fall into such a category, although during the last 23 years, I've always declined the vaccine.


There’s no specific risk to the pouch with flu. Some of us have more pouch trouble when other illnesses throw things off.

Declining the flu vaccine is almost certainly a mistake. I can’t imagine what logic is being applied. 

Only logic to declining the vaccine, was originally, my age, as it tends to be offered to the elderly and also, I've never considered myself vulnerable, especially as since 2005, other than the Imodium, I've been medication free.

Last edited by strange

The elderly catch the flu from unvaccinated people. Then, all too often, they die. Unless the vaccine is being rationed everyone for whom it is safe should be vaccinated.

Yes, in the US it is recommended for everyone to get a flu vaccine, unless there is a shortage. The higher the percentage of vaccination, the higher the effectiveness. That is what herd immunity is all about. Having a j-pouch is no reason not to vaccinate.

I am not sure why flu vaccine is not offered for healthy adults in the UK, unless it is purely a cost saving issue. In the US the cost is determined by an individual’s health plan coverage. I have Kaiser and immunizations of all types have always been at no charge. I guess they figure it is cheaper to vaccinate than treat illnesses.


Last edited by Jan Dollar
Scott F posted:

The elderly catch the flu from unvaccinated people. Then, all too often, they die. Unless the vaccine is being rationed everyone for whom it is safe should be vaccinated.

So Scott, are you regularly  vaccinated against the flu then ?

Although, I wouldn't want to suffer from the flu again, I'm certain the flu isn't the pandemic of which you're insinuating, otherwise governments such as the UK, the USA and the likes, would ensure everyone had the flu vaccine and they're not.

During the last 40 years; personally, I've only ever come across one other person who has genuinely suffered from the flu, as well myself when 14 yrs old; therefore;  it's certainly not as prevalent as you appear to proclaim.

Within the UK, anyone who is 65 years old and over, as well as anyone who falls within the vulnerable category, such ss myself; can, by choice,  have the flu jab vaccine, it's not compulsory, which is another example of the Governments threat assessment in relation to the risk.


  When I use the term flu; I refer to the viral infection influenza and NOT the common cold.

Last edited by strange

This year is particularly bad for the flu. Yes, influenza, not cold viruses. Worldwide it is bad, including the UK. It is currently widespread in the US, with increased hospitalizations and unusual deaths in young adults. I personally have been getting flu vaccines annually for at least 40 years. 

Part of the issue is that you do not know how bad the flu strain is going to be early in the season, but you want some time for antbodies to build before it hits your continent. 



Yes cases of the flu are probably  increasing year on year, however, the WHO and Governments of the first world have not issued a statement, stressing that each and every member of the population be vaccinated to prevent flu.

Although cases of the flu are increasing year on year; how does that equate to the majority of the population who don't catch the flu.

Yes, I get vaccinated every year. In addition to protecting me personally, it helps ensure that I’m not part of the path that leads to serious illness or death for others. In the US everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated, and the Affordable Care Act requires insurance policies to cover the cost. As Jan wrote, herd immunity can help protect an entire population, at least when the vaccination rates are significant. Herd immunity is remarkably effective even in years (like this one) when the efficacy of the vaccine isn’t ideal. Herd immunity doesn’t work properly if you limit the vaccine to those at risk, though.

I can’t speak to the politics or economics of the NHS, but if they are treating vaccination as a individual (rather than a population) solution they are acting like the UK is a very poor country. There is a predictable surge in flu each year, though it varies in intensity, and waiting for an epidemic to be declared is too little, too late. In addition to the direct effects of the flu, large seasonal increases crowd out ambulances, emergency departments, and hospitals, leading to additional health issues and deaths.

Jan, Scott..... Thank you for your very informative replies and opinion, however, I read Newspapers, watch Tv News and various political Tv programmes on a regular basis and the flu epidemic is not depicted as gravely by Governments or Health Organisations as you're both implying.

I'm not suggesting or advising anyone not to be vaccinated against the flu; I just believe if it is such a pandemic, then yearly vaccination would be compulsory for all age groups, rather than voluntary, like it is now.

Scott.... you've even stated that "in the US, everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated"  why only encouraged ?

So, who do I believe; the opinions of two, normally well informed forum members or the advice provided by UK NHS and the Government of the day ?

At present, although my previous diagnosis of UC and now my J pouch places me within the vulnerable group and therefore entitled to the vaccine, there is currently no widespread NHS/Government campaign to encourage those younger than 65 and not in the vulnerable group to get the flu vaccine.

Due to my age, level of fitness and wellbeing, I don't see myself as vulnerable or at risk.

The US has almost no method of requiring universal flu vaccination, so widespread availability and no cost are the next best thing. It’s helpful to remember that almost nothing is free in the US - certainly not health care.

When to call an outbreak an epidemic is a political decision, in large measure. In the case of flu, waiting until an epidemic is declared to think about population-level vaccination is almost completely worthless. I understand that they are saving money, and it’s even possible that in a good year that money is better spent elsewhere, but it’s terrible public health policy. The price of that is paid in a bad year, which officials will always describe as a surprise. The UK epidemic is likely to be declared in the next week or two, at which time the public health response will be, essentially, “oops.” Here’s a Telegraph article that tells the current story.

Your personal vaccination decision is yours alone. By viewing the vaccine as purely being about personal health care (and skipping it) you increase the risk of getting the flu, of course, but you also increase the risk of helping to worsen a significant and deadly problem in your community. When you spread the flu, people really will die from it, usually the very young and the very old.

I get vaccinated every year but this past year, in October, I got hit with what was either the flu or the worst cold of my life and it took me around 3 weeks to get over it. I posted about it in the Remicade thread because I thought it was a sign that my suppressed immune system was weak in fighting it off. I don’t think it effected my Pouch per se but the myriad medications I threw at it, including medicated and Codeine cough syrups, most definitely did. The Codeine cough syrups are constipating and one must be careful in using them. 

Anyway, you can get vaccinated and you can also follow all the common sense hygiene steps recommended by Jan and others, but it simply doesn’t guarantee you will not get sick. Sometimes it just happens. I put it in the same category of risk as flying or driving, you might get in an accident or crash despite doing everything right. So in the end you can’t worry about it beyond what you can control. 

It also reminds me that my sister had to travel for her job to some African countries afflicted by the Ebola virus outbreak a few years ago. My mother, who is a bit of a drama Queen, was frantically emailing her every day to make sure she wasn’t in the hospital with Ebola, or dead. I doubt my sister was doing much except focusing on her job and not doing anything stupid. Beyond that you just cross fingers and hope for the best.

Last edited by CTBarrister

As a mom that just had the flu go through the house with the kids (us parents survived), I can tell you that I've never seen anything work so well as Tamiflu!  I brought my son into the pediatrician office within a few hours of the fever starting.  He tested positive for influena A.  He was a mess, 103 fever, lethargic, body aches, and coughing.  She said most people with this flu strain are sick for about 7-10 days. Started him on Tamiflu right after we left the office.  He woke up the next day fever free and cough and pains gone!  He recovered very quickly.  Tamiflu only works if you start it as soon as your symptoms start and the sooner you start, the sooner you stop the viruses from replicating so you'll recover sooner.

I don't think it is normally recommended to take it preventatively in a typical, healthy person, but if you have a household full of people with the flu, doctors may prescribe it for you.  My PCP said she would give it to me if I wanted it, but I declined and said I'd call her if I started a fever.  I never did catch it.

Scott.... I'm not stupid and I certainly don't believe the flu outbreak is the epidemic or pandemic you believe it to be.

I'm certainly not to blame for the spread of the virus either, you'll be blaming homosexuals for spreading HIV next.

Would it not be best to educate rather than cast blame.

During my battle with the flu as a teenager, no one I came into contact with died as a result, nor have I infected or caused anyone to die during the 36 years since.  

I often respect your knowledge, opinion and contribution in regard to topics raised and discussed within this forum, however on this occassion, it's best we agree, to disagree.

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