A normal but nasty strain of flu is circulating (see here and here ). It appears to run its course in a couple of days but with flu there is also a risk of getting a secondary streptococcal infection leading to pneumonia, bloodstream infections or meningitis, which can be deadly. In fact, with concerns about an avian flu pandemic it is worth noting that many of those who died in the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak (to which the avian flu is closely related genetically) actually died from pneumonia that set in with the flu.
While pneumonia has been effectively treated with antibiotics in the past, the disease is becoming more resistant. The strongest protection now may come in the form of pneumococcal vaccinations. These won’t prevent the flu virus, but can stop secondary pneumococcal infections from taking advantage of an already weakened victim. The Minnesota Department of Health does an excellent job of providing information about pneumonia shots as well as information on how this can affect the impact of the avian flu.
(HT: Z-Plus Partners Blog).