Week of:
Sep 11, 2020

Do I have a cold or the flu?

Hi Alice,

I've been wicked sick all week with a really bad runny nose, face pain, cough and now my right ear is hurting. I can't think!! And I am trying to study for exams!!!

My mom told me I have the flu and should go to a doctor to get medicine to treat it. But I think it's just a wicked bad cold. Can you tell me the difference?

Faucet Nose

What's up with FluMist?

Dear Alice,

I have heard numerous reports in the media where they make mention of the "live flu virus" in the flu vaccine, specifically "flu-mist." This is mentioned in conjunction with a warning to avoid contact with this and that (yadda, yadda) for a certain time period. This confuses me. I was under the impression that the flu vaccines contain dead viruses and that it was not possible to catch the flu from the vaccine. Which is it?

HIV positive and wondering about flu shots

Dear Alice,

I'm HIV positive, very low viral load & great t-cell count (not on meds). I've been reading recently that flu shots aren't all they're cracked up to be. What are the dangers of a flu shot, and if my immune system is already doing well, should I still get a flu shot?

Recurring flu symptoms or something else?

Dear Alice,

For the past two or three weeks, myself, my wife, and my kids have had flu symptoms on and off. We'll have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea for about 24 hours, it will go away for a day or two, and then come back. It concerns me as this is not the normal cycle we are accustomed to with the flu. I almost feel we need blood tests or antibiotics or something. What could this be and why does it keep reoccurring?