This follows on from Julia’s post at OoL.

There’s this for a start:

Dr Sarah Jarvis explained that there are a number of issues with the flu and the vaccine this year.

She said: “We’ve got two or three issues with the flu vaccine/flu this year. One is that sometimes the number of cases is just high – we can’t do anything about that.

“Two is that this year we’ve got two main strains circulating. One of them is the H3N2 – that’s one of the A viruses – and the point about the H3N2 is the vaccine does not appear to be as effective in terms of preventing it – even though the H3N2 is included in the vaccine.

From which they conclude, of course, that you still should get the jab because … well, you still should because that’s the dogma.

My GP’s practice has upped the ante by sending the form letter, unsigned but with her name at the bottom, saying I’m in a high risk group. Nice getting that at the end of three weeks of flu and having stayed home mostly, as snug as a bug in a rug until the combi-boiler broke down yesterday.

But it was the imperative nature of the letter I didn’t like, laying an action on me – if I refuse to have it, then I must sign a document and drop it in at the practice or go to town to the post office and send it, both which require me going out into the cold for an hour, having had the flu and not wishing to relapse. And if I drop it at the surgery, then it’s full of people with the flu.

So I’m going to ignore that.

Now, I’ve spoken to quite a few people about flu jabs this winter, with a 100% correlation between having it and being sick with the flu sometime later – not always that person, often aunts or grandparents etc. But 100% correlation. In my particular case, I stopped having them sometime in the mid-80s and have been relatively well ever since on that score.

The bit I don’t like is the bureaucratic filing of me on computer as “uncooperative”, which then flows into other areas, e.g. heart. “Well we can hardly be expected to help you if your attitude is like that.”

27 comments for “Flu

  1. david morris
    March 1, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Ask your GP if he/she is taking the jab.

    Most don’t & won’t.

    • March 1, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Good point. Trouble is, I’ve never met my GP – that’s right. I can’t get close enough for her to deign to see me.

      • Mona
        March 1, 2018 at 7:16 pm

        Remember Toxic Tony spouting off about the value of getting Children vaccinated in the House of Commons, he was asked if his Children have been vaccinated he refused to answer,

        • March 1, 2018 at 7:46 pm

          Why would you take your children to the House of Commons to be vaccinated?

          • Mona
            March 2, 2018 at 10:25 am

            Dear Mark I wouldn’t take my children anywhere to be vaccinated and try to educate yourself,com

  2. opsimath
    March 1, 2018 at 11:22 am

    I have to say I am a bit surprised by your practice’s wanting to chase you over the flu jab. My wife and I have ignored the flu jab since 1990 when it gave us both the flu — a severe cold, we were informed later, not the flu.

    Apart from a telephone call from an unknown number back in November, we have heard nothing; I have been to the surgery for a prescription review since then and no-one mentioned the flu jab.

    As to being labelled ‘uncooperative’. I shall only say ‘Am I bovvered?’

  3. Mona
    March 1, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Co-operate or else,,, they will lose money see, we don’t want that do we. Use God’s right arm= the internet. A good site try, Educate-Yourself, you will love it.

  4. Mudplugger
    March 1, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    On a sub issue, bin the combi-boiler, they’re a nightmare, far too complex and delicate.

    Chances are your problem may be just a blockage in the external pipe which removes the condensate outdoors – in very cold/freezing weather, this narrow pipe can collect an ice-blockage which causes a sensor to shut down the boiler – check that first and save the plumber’s outrageous bill.
    Rattle it and pour a kettle or two of boiling water along its length, concentrating on any bends or elbows. If that works, my modest bill’s in the post . . . .

    • March 1, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      That is exactly what it is. I’ve just had to switch off at the wall again and am using gas fired kettle and electric heating.

    • March 4, 2018 at 9:07 am

      We had the same problem with a frozen pipe on our condensing boiler a few years ago – inconveniently starting on Christmas day – this after many years of adequate operation in unfreezing conditions. As soon as practical after the Christmas break, as advised, we had the condenser drain replumbed, internally into the drain of the nearest sink. As might be expected, there has been no recurrence of the problem.

      This particular problem is down to condensing boiler design rather than combi-boiler design. You will be hard pushed (on price and efficiency) to get any modern boiler (combi or not) that is not a condensing boiler. Mudplugger is, IMHO, too pessimistic – compare your boiler to a modern motor car: the car is far more complex and operating in a more hostile environment. Condensing boiler design has improved with real-world experience of types of fault and detailed causes.

      Installation instructions for condensing boilers for several years now (so we are informed) are for use of a fully internal condenser drain. Clearly there had been previously too much belief in permanent global warming, such that UK temperatures below freezing would never again occur.

      If not essential sooner (given it is now March), I recommend getting your condensing boiler drain internally connected at the time of your next boiler service (which combination will save one call-out charge).

      If you ever get to the stage of replacing your boiler (and have conventional steel radiators), I also strongly recommend having a magnetic filter installed (and cleaned annually). We got an extra 3-years warranty (to 8 years) for this: it much reduces wear to the boiler pump etc over time.

      Best regards

      • Mudplugger
        March 4, 2018 at 10:11 am

        Sadly my ‘pessimism’ is based on real-world experience, including two decades working in the gas industry. My own boiler, a 40-year-old Glo-worm with cast-iron heat-exchanger and a pilot light, operates faultlessly, heating a 13-room detached house for £80 a month – no combi or condensing boiler can match that total cost of ownership.

        At another house of mine, there was a 7-year-old ‘modern’ boiler, no pilot-light etc. – when the ignition failed, it cost £275 just to get the ignition circuit-board replaced – compare that to the cost of a pilot-light – in another 6/7 years it will fail again.

        My neighbour’s 6-year-old combi boiler, same problem, recently needed an electronic control-unit, the part alone retailed at £235 – then add a call-out charge onto that. The same boiler, weeks later, got a blockage in the condensate filter (which still blocks whether it’s internal or external), necessitating yet another major strip-down – another chunk of labour. (OK, my labour was free in both cases, but most folk cannot tackle those jobs)

        Modern boilers are built with cheap, lightweight materials (aluminium etc.), then clustered with over-complex control systems and delicate sensors which require expensive and expert attention, all in pursuit of so-called efficiency. This is not progress, it produces short-lived, expensive and unreliable equipment but with a reliable income stream for the aftermarket plumbing trade.

        Modern cars suffer some of those issues with their ECUs but at least they are massively more reliable than those from decades before – the same cannot be said for heating appliances.

        • March 4, 2018 at 12:56 pm

          Cheers again.

        • March 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm

          It’s good of Mudplugger to come back on the boiler heating and running cost issues. And I acknowledge his expertise must be greater than mine. However, I do have a couple of points.

          (i) In my current house (23 years old, I suspect similar size to Mudpluggers – but most likely with somewhat better insulation on the basis of age) we had initially a non-condensing boiler (Potterton wall-mounted). This failed after 10 years, through a cracked cast-iron heat exchanger – which I viewed as very disappointing. The replacement condensing Worcester-Bosch lasted 11 years; IIRC pump failure was the problem. On replacement, all 3 invited tenderers insisted on quoting Worcester-Bosch and nothing else and said their boilers were much improved from those 11 years previously (especially with the magnetic filter) and better than the competition (although all reported new condensing boilers had had much improved life over those of 10+ years ago); their unanimity and the 8-year warranty eventually overcame my natural scepticism.

          (ii) On efficiency of condensing boilers, the Wikipedia article writes: “Condensing boiler manufacturers claim that up to 98% thermal efficiency can be achieved, compared to 70%-80% with conventional designs (based on the higher heating value of fuels). Typical models offer efficiencies around 90%, which brings most brands of condensing gas boiler in to the highest available categories for energy efficiency.” Thus condensing boilers offer typically 90% fuel efficiency and non-condensing the lesser 70% to 80%. For any given heating load (so property and settings dependent), I don’t really see how this fuel efficiency gain can be rejected. This should surely apply to Mudplugger’s home to the same extent as any.

          Item (ii) really leaves us with the capital costs, lifespan and maintenance costs – on which Mudplugger has his greater experience than mine in favour of non-condensing (and non-combi) boilers. The combi or not decision is one made pretty much by the property designer on the basis of available space for an hot water tank – certainly combi-boilers have more complicated control systems – as do condensing boilers with and without combi.

          Certainly Mudplugger’s 40+year life for his boiler is very impressive, though he does not disclose the capital and maintenance costs. I would have been delighted (in retrospect) to have got half that from my house’s 1995 Potterton non-condensing, non-combi boiler. I suspect that any ‘falling off’ of manufacturing quality is actually from design for a specified life combined with planned reduced maintenance costs – as with most modern white/brown goods (and cars).

          As to the car comparison, I’m struggling to see reason why sophisticated boiler life-span should not go up significantly, with improved technology and longer experience (as does sophisticated car life-span, combined with improved functionality and value for money).

          Best regards

          • Mudplugger
            March 4, 2018 at 9:35 pm

            My ‘impressive’ 40-year-old boiler has had just two pumps, two thermocouples and one pilot-burner throughout its life – labour cost nil, self repaired. Less than £200 in total.

            The answer to the hot-water cylinder issue is to have a separate multi-point water-heater – that’s like having a combi with none of its complexity, but with added contingency – all your eggs are then not in the one basket. If the boiler fails, you’ve still got hot water and vice-versa. I have a Vaillant multi-point, 30 years old, which has needed just two diaphragms in that time – £10.

            Neither of these appliances ‘suffers’ regular servicing – that’s the worst thing you can do to an appliance that’s working well. Whenever other attention is needed, that’s the only time any internal cleaning is carried out.

            Unless you’re driven by ‘green mania’, short-term fuel efficiency cannot be treated separately, it’s about whole-of-life cost. I maintain that an old but simple and stable boiler costs far less over its lifespan than the current crop of so-called efficient ones, simply because of the latter’s short lifespan, complexity, frequent faults and high maintenance costs.

  5. Voice of Reason
    March 1, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Getting the flu from the flu shot is akin to getting fat by eating the cardboard box that chocolates came in.

    The flu virus is dead or attenuated, and the immune system is triggered to recognize the crystal shell.

    • Auralay
      March 1, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      I have a 100%record with flu jabs. Have one = get flu or very nasty cold. No jab = no flu, occasional mild cold at any time of year. I can’t comment on the biological science and I do know correlation does not prove causation* but that perfect record is suspicious.
      *I think this puts me one up on most climate alarmists.

  6. Dr Evil
    March 1, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    I did not have a flu jab this year as I knew it would be ineffective.

  7. The Jannie
    March 1, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Flu is a virus – or, as it mutates often, one of many viruses. My practice nurse assured me that the jab worked with the four most common. If I’m having a virus I want a well-bred one, not a common scruff, so no thank you.

  8. Penseivat
    March 1, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    For over 10 years I have taken a daily dose of cod liver oil/omega 3 capsules and never even had a cold. I stopped taking them after a medical article in a newspaper said they should not be taken over a long period of time. The result was that I spent 8 days in bed sweating out a flu fever and then over a week to recover from that. Now back on the capsules. If I’m alive after next winter, I’ll let you know if they helped.

  9. March 1, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Agreed. Sod these jabs, never had one.

  10. Hereward Unbowed.
    March 1, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    did I read that, across the NHS there is only a circa 50% uptake of Hospital employees having the Flu jab?

    Do you know what really made me pause, the recent ‘medical evidence’ that combined paper posted in the Lancet (I think) concerning tranks and anti depressants…………………..saying that – they’re all OK, now call me a cynic but these sorts of drugs (Tramodol etc) are beasts, highly addictive and to go cold turkey – apparently is nigh impossible and these chemical coshes are immediately addictive when taken.

    A medicated population is: a docile population.

    Don’t get me started on, why Skunk which is, a very powrful narcotic made/is almost legal and why tobacco is almost not? Sure, they both do your lungs in – not arguable but why is one harmful but proscribed drug ‘deemed’ by UK authorities in their omniscient wisdom to be tacitly advised as ‘safer’ than the other legally available product (tobacco) ?
    Futhermore, why does NICE and NHS never come down hard on Skunk……………’medicating the population’ is the desired outcome but only a part answer, the other half of the equation is that, most of the administration plus the medical profession and MPs regularly do recreational drugs…………

    think on, HMG tories/labour, evidently do not give a flying f*** about your welfare and health and most of the blame for that is living in the EU, life is made so cheap and all untermensch are regarded as cattle………….now a bloke born in Austria used to like to experiment on people…….

    And they haven’t gone away, remember primodos too.

  11. March 1, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Food for thought dot dot dot …

  12. Pcar
    March 1, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    until the combi-boiler broke down yesterday

    Frozen condensate drain pipe? Send bill to Prescott, Blair, Greenpeace & EU

    My pet hate is people saying they have/had “the flu” when it was a common cold.

    • Hereward Unbowed.
      March 1, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      “Frozen condensate drain pipe? Send bill to Prescott, Blair, Greenpeace & EU”

      During a prearranged visit, I had round, a local heating engineer to check our system, while he was bleeding one radiator, I had a quick chat and talked about the ‘new’ types of condensing boilers, he said he wasn’t really aware of the controversy but that the new types of boiler’s reliability “had improved” – I left it there, I didn’t want to piss him off.

      “had improved” – says it all, they’re still inferior to my old Baxi, it’ll have to give up the ghost before I replace it, or maybe I’ll be a ghost – 😉

  13. March 2, 2018 at 2:04 am

    Close to a ghost now at 2 a.m. Between two duvets, multiple layers, then one of those padded shirts, two hoods overall. Warm but the pillow itself is cold.

    Sorry the “flu” offended, at the time the nomenclature was not the most immediate thing on my mind.

    • Hereward Unbowed.
      March 2, 2018 at 10:52 am

      stay well James lad, stay warm if you can it’s very important for YOUR wellbeing.

      flu and flues notwithstanding.

  14. March 4, 2018 at 9:38 am

    There are lots of questions over the efficacy of flu jabs. What is clear, however, is that there is a strong statistical effect which means that most who have no flu jab get no flu and some who have a flu jab do get the flu.

    In these circumstances, despite all the well-meaning contributions to the discussion, no individual or small group of individuals can have any personalised experience or knowledge useful in determining efficacy.

    There will also be individual (medical) aspects in take-up after exposure to infection and effectiveness of jabs. On top of that, all (and especially frequent) exposure to large groups (in schools, shops, crowded public transport) will also increase risk.

    On top of all that, which few flu types will be included in jabs for any specific year needs to be decided several months (around April IIRC) before jabbing, to allow time for enough vaccine to be produced. That itself means that sometimes one (or more) of the included strains will be known retrospectively not to have been the ‘best’ choice. The number of strains included in the jabs is also a choice in which (predicted) cost-effectiveness matters a lot – with only (again IIRC) inclusion of 3 or 4 strains out of many more being practical or cost-effective. The vast majority of flu sufferers have no knowledge of which strain they suffered from, or whether that strain was covered in the jab.

    Believe it or not, sensible choices are made by very well informed people from statistical knowledge of most of the relevant factors. Though that does not imply perfection.

    Best regards

Comments are closed.