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The Quick 10: 10 Flu Facts

It's flu shot time around here, so I guess I have the flu on the brain. I thought if I did, maybe you guys do too, so I did a little research today.
WebMD and had a particularly interesting article on flu myths. I summarized a couple of their myths, but you can get the full article here. Disclaimer, though: If you end up surfing around WebMD and diagnosing yourself with all kinds of horrible ailments (which I have a tendency to do), I take no responsibility.

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1. The flu vaccine can't give you the flu. The vaccines only contain a dead piece of the flu virus, and a dead virus can't infect you. There is a nasal vaccine that contains a live virus, but that particular vaccine is designed to seek and destroy the part of the virus that actually makes you sick.

2. You can treat the flu. Within 48 hours of contracting it, a doctor can prescribe antiviral medicine that will help. It's not going to get rid of it entirely, but it will lessen the time that you're curled up on the couch, watching bad daytime T.V. and wanting to die.

3. The Spanish Flu is the most well-known pandemic of the flu "“ it took out anywhere from 40 to 100 million people from 1918 to 1920. It was so severe that it registered a Level 5 on the Pandemic Severity Scale, which is the highest level that exists. The mortality rate was incredibly high "“ some estimates say up to 20 percent. People that got it and survived, though, include FDR, Walt Disney, Mary Pickford, General Pershing and Woodrow Wilson.

sykes4. Recently (September), Sir Mark Sykes of England was dug up so scientists could study the Spanish Flu virus, hoping to understand more about the current bird flu. Even though Sykes has been six feet under for the past 90 years, the fact that he was buried in a lead coffin makes scientists hope that the virus has been preserved.

5. In the U.S. alone, the flu season results in 36,000-ish deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations. As if those facts weren't painful enough, the flu costs Americans a collective $10 billion annually.

6. While we have the Freshman 15, the Brits have Freshers Flu. Up to 90 percent of people during their first few weeks at college end up getting sick, and whether it's actually the flu or not (it's usually just a cold), the nickname has a nice ring to it.

7. People who say they have the "stomach flu" probably don't really have the flu. It's just a nickname that came about because you feel crappy in similar ways to the real flu. But, WebMD says, if you don't have fever or body ache, you likely don't have the flu "“ just a gastrointestinal virus of some sort.

8. This one is Snopes-verified "“ Donald Rumsfeld owns stock in Gilead Sciences, the company that makes Tamiflu. Tamiflu, for those that don't know (I didn't), is a drug that can reduce the severity of the flu. It's one of those drugs I mentioned up in #2. Some people think this is a big conspiracy theory "“ that the avian flu and other strains have become a huge deal in recent years because the government, including Rumsfeld, wanted to make a tidy profit from his stocks. Seems a little farfetched to me, but"¦ who knows?

9. The flu has been around for a loooong time "“ Hippocrates wrote of an illness with a description closely matching today's modern flu symptoms.

10. The most recent flu pandemic was the Hong Kong Flu in 1968-69, which registered as a Level 2 on the Pandemic Severity Index. About 500,000 people were infected in Hong Kong, about 50 million were infect in the U.S. Around 34,000 of those 50 million died.

P.S.: Ryan reminded me in the comments that I said I was going to work Clark Gable into my Q10 all week. So, here are your farfetched Gable-related bits of flu trivia:

  • Gable was probably less likely than most to catch the flu because he had a "fetish for cleanliness", according to his biographer, David Bret.
  • One evening, he told his wife, Kay, he thought he was coming down with the flu because he was feeling poorly. He went to bed early. The next day, he was changing the tire on his Jeep when he he started having severe chest pains - the flu-like symptoms were actually a sign of his oncoming heart attack.
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    5 Subtle Cues That Can Tell You About Your Date's Financial Personality
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    Being financially compatible with your partner is important, especially as a relationship grows. Fortunately, there are ways you can learn about your partner’s financial personality in a relationship’s early stages without seeing their bank statement or sitting them down for “the money talk.”

    Are they a spender or a saver? Are they cautious with money? These habits can be learned through basic observations or casual questions that don’t feel intrusive. Here are some subtle things that can tell you about your date’s financial personality.

    1. HOW THEY ANSWER BASIC MONEY QUESTIONS.

    Casual conversations about finance-related topics can be very revealing. Does your date know if their employer matches their 401(k) plan contributions? Do you find their answers to any financial questions a bit vague—even the straightforward ones like “What are the rewards like on your credit card?” This could mean that your partner is a little fuzzy on some of the details of their financial situation.

    As your connection grows, money talks are only natural. If your date expresses uncertainty about their monthly budget, it may be an indicator that they are still working on the best way to manage their finances or don’t keep close tabs on their spending habits.

    2. WHAT THEY’RE WATCHING AND READING.

    If you notice your partner is always watching business news channels, thumbing through newspapers, or checking share prices on their phone, they are clearly keeping abreast of what’s going on in the financial world. Ideally, this would lead to a well-informed financial personality that gives way to smart investments and overall monetary responsibility.

    If you see that your date has an interest in national and global finances, ask them questions about what they’ve learned. The answers will tell you what type of financial mindset to expect from you partner moving forward. You might also learn something new about the world of finance and business!

    3. WHERE THEY GET THEIR FOOD.

    You may be able to learn a lot about someone’s financial personality just by asking what they usually do for dinner. If your date dines out a lot, it could be an indication that they are willing to spend money on experiences. On the other hand, if they’re eating most of their meals at home or prepping meals for the entire week to cut their food budget, they might be more of a saver.

    4. WHETHER THEY’RE VOICING MONEY CONCERNS.

    Money is a source of stress for most people, so it’s important to observe if financial anxiety plays a prominent role in your date’s day-to-day life. There are a number of common financial worries we all share—rising insurance rates, unexpected car repairs, rent increases—but there are also more specific and individualized concerns. Listen to how your date talks about money and pick up on whether their stress is grounded in worries we all have or if they have a more specific reason for concern.

    In both instances, it’s important to be supportive and helpful where you can. If your partner is feeling nervous about money, they’ll likely be much more cautious about what they’re spending, which can be a good thing. But it can also stop them from making necessary purchases or looking into investments that might actually benefit them in the future. As a partner, you can help out by minimizing their expenses for things like nights out and gifts in favor of less expensive outings or homemade gifts to leave more of their budget available for necessities.

    5. HOW THEY HANDLE THE BILL.

    Does your date actually look at how much they’re spending before handing their credit card to the waiter or bartender at the end of the night? It’s a subtle sign, but someone who looks over a bill is likely much more observant about what they spend than someone who just blindly hands cards or cash over once they get the tab.

    Knowing what you spend every month—even on smaller purchases like drinks or dinner—is key when you’re staying on a budget. It’s that awareness that allows people to adjust their monthly budget and calculate what their new balance will be once the waiter hands over the check. Someone who knows exactly what they’re spending on the small purchases is probably keeping a close eye on the bigger picture as well.

    REMEMBER THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TALKING.

    While these subtle cues can be helpful signposts when you’re trying to get an idea of your date’s financial personality, none are perfect indicators that will be accurate every time. Our financial personalities are rarely cut and dry—most of us probably display some behaviors that would paint us as savers while also showing habits that exclaim “spender!” By relying too heavily on any one indicator, we might not get an accurate impression of our date.

    Instead, as you get to know a new partner, the best way to learn about their financial personality is by having a straightforward and honest talk with them. You’ll learn more by listening and asking questions than you ever could by observing small behaviors.

    Whatever your financial personality is, it pays to keep an eye on your credit score. Discover offers a Free Credit Scorecard, and checking it won't impact your score. It's totally free, even if you aren't a Discover customer. Check yours in seconds. Terms apply. Visit Discover to learn more.

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    Animals
    Where Do Birds Get Their Songs?
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    iStock

    Birds display some of the most impressive vocal abilities in the animal kingdom. They can be heard across great distances, mimic human speech, and even sing using distinct dialects and syntax. The most complex songs take some practice to learn, but as TED-Ed explains, the urge to sing is woven into songbirds' DNA.

    Like humans, baby birds learn to communicate from their parents. Adult zebra finches will even speak in the equivalent of "baby talk" when teaching chicks their songs. After hearing the same expressions repeated so many times and trying them out firsthand, the offspring are able to use the same songs as adults.

    But nurture isn't the only factor driving this behavior. Even when they grow up without any parents teaching them how to vocalize, birds will start singing on their own. These innate songs are less refined than the ones that are taught, but when they're passed down through multiple generations and shaped over time, they start to sound similar to the learned songs sung by other members of their species.

    This suggests that the drive to sing as well as the specific structures of the songs themselves have been ingrained in the animals' genetic code by evolution. You can watch the full story from TED-Ed below, then head over here for a sample of the diverse songs produced by birds.

    [h/t TED-Ed]

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