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Temporary Fever May Occur When Kids Under 2 Get 2 Shots at Once

Posted 7 Jan 2014 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 7, 2014 – Young children who receive flu and pneumococcal vaccines at the same time are at increased risk for temporary fever, a new study reports. While parents should be told about this risk, the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks of fever, the researchers said. The study included 530 children, aged 6 months to 23 months, who were followed for a week after receiving flu and pneumococcal vaccines either separately or at the same time. The annual flu shot is recommended for healthy people over 6 months of age, and the pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for children younger than 5 years old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 38 percent of the children who received the vaccines at the same time had a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher on the day of or the day after vaccination, compared with 9.5 percent of those who ... Read more

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Testosterone May Undermine Flu Shot's Effectiveness for Men

Posted 23 Dec 2013 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 – The flu vaccine is less effective for men than women, and researchers at Stanford University believe they've figured out why. The male hormone testosterone causes genes in the immune system to produce fewer antibodies, or defense mechanisms, in response to the vaccine, they found. "Men, typically, do worse than women in immune response to infection and vaccination," said Stanford research associate David Furman, the lead study investigator. For instance, men are more susceptible to bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infection than women. And men's immune systems don't respond as robustly as women's to vaccinations against flu, yellow fever, measles, hepatitis and many other diseases, Furman said. For the study, published online Dec. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers analyzed the blood of nearly 90 adults after they ... Read more

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Too Few Americans With Asthma Are Getting Flu Shots, CDC Says

Posted 5 Dec 2013 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 – People with asthma face special risks from influenza, and a new report suggests far too few American asthma patients receive the seasonal flu shot. "Asthmatics are at increased risk for complications from the flu," said one expert, Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Exacerbations [flare-ups] of asthma are common with any viral infection, but the exacerbation from the flu is particularly severe." The new study, led by Matthew Lozier of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at flu shot uptake during the 2010-2011 flu season. The investigators found that only half of Americans with asthma got a flu shot – a figure that was at least an improvement on the rate of 36 percent observed in the 2005-2006 flu season. However, despite this increase, flu vaccination rates for people with asthma remain ... Read more

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Gelatin Allergy May Mean Extra Care Is Needed With Flu Shot

Posted 8 Nov 2013 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Nov. 8 – If you're allergic to gummy bears or marshmallows, you may need to be careful when getting a flu shot. Those sweet treats contain gelatin and can trigger a reaction in people with gelatin allergy. Flu shots also contain gelatin and can cause a mild to severe reaction in people with a gelatin allergy, one expert said. "Gelatin is used in the flu shot, as well as other vaccines, as a stabilizer. Because it is found in the vaccine, those with a known allergy to gelatin can experience allergic reactions, such as hives, sneezing and difficulty breathing," allergist Dr. Stephanie Albin said in an American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) news release. "Because of this, precautions should be taken, such as having a board-certified allergist administer the vaccine in a person with known gelatin allergy in case a reaction occurs," Albin added. The problem was ... Read more

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Flu Can Kill Even Healthy Children, Study Finds

Posted 28 Oct 2013 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 28 – Children, even those without severe medical conditions, can die from the flu in as little as three days after symptoms appear, U.S. health officials warn. Between 2004 and 2012, flu complications killed 830 children in the United States, many of whom were otherwise healthy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most striking is that 35 percent of these children died before being hospitalized or within the first three days of developing symptoms, according to the report published online Oct. 28 in Pediatrics. "We found these influenza-related deaths can occur in children with and without medical conditions and in children of all ages, and that very few of these children have been vaccinated," said lead author Dr. Karen Wong, a CDC medical epidemiologist. Researchers who reviewed those deaths found that only 22 percent with a high-risk ... Read more

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Your Flu Shot May Also Help Your Heart

Posted 22 Oct 2013 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 22 – If avoiding an achy, feverish week or so laid up with the flu doesn't motivate you to get a flu shot, a new study linking flu shots to a lower incidence of heart disease might persuade you to roll up your sleeve. People in the study who got flu shots were one-third less likely to have heart issues, such as heart failure or a heart attack, compared to those who opted against vaccination. The flu shot was associated with an even greater reduction of heart problems if someone had heart disease to start with, according to the study. "This is one further piece of evidence to convince patients to go out and get their flu shot," said the study's lead author, Dr. Jacob Udell, a cardiology and clinician scientist, at Women's College Hospital at the University of Toronto. Results of the study are published in the Oct. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical ... Read more

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Egg Allergy No Obstacle to Child's Flu Shot, CDC Says

Posted 5 Oct 2013 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 4 – The latest research shows that it's safe for children with an egg allergy to get flu shots without special precautions, according to an update on the issue. The current recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is to observe children who have an egg allergy for 30 minutes after a flu shot. It also advises that the shot should be given under the care of a primary care doctor if a child's reaction to eggs is only hives, and under the supervision of an allergist if a child's reaction to eggs is more serious. However, the new update – published in the October issue of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology – states that such special precautions are not necessary. "In a large number of research studies published over the last several years, thousands of egg allergic children, ... Read more

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CDC Reports More Americans Getting Flu Shots

Posted 26 Sep 2013 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 26 – Although more Americans than ever are getting their annual flu shots, U.S. health officials said Thursday that the rates could be better and urged virtually all Americans to get vaccinated for the coming flu season. "Our message today is simple. Everyone 6 months of age and older should receive a flu vaccination," Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said during a morning news conference. Those who remain unvaccinated are at higher risk of hospitalization and death from flu and its complications, the experts noted. A flu shot is especially important for people with medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes, Koh said. In addition, vaccinating pregnant women and health care professionals is vital. Every year, an estimated 5 percent to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu, ... Read more

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It's Not Too Soon to Get Your Flu Shot, Doctor Says

Posted 25 Sep 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 – This season's flu vaccine is now available, and Americans should get their flu shot as soon as possible, an expert says. "Contrary to some beliefs, getting the flu shot in September is a good thing and will offer protection for the entirety of the flu season," Dr. Stephen Russell, an associated professor in the general internal medicine division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release. "Most people will only need one shot each year, but the flu shot a patient had last year will not protect them for this coming flu season," added Russell, who also is a lead physician at the UAB Medicine Moody Clinic. This season's vaccine is different than those in previous years. For the first time, the vaccine protects against four different types of flu viruses, according to the news release. In past years, vaccines offered protection ... Read more

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Take Kids to Get Their Flu Shots Early, Experts Say

Posted 2 Sep 2013 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Sept. 2 – As soon as the updated seasonal flu vaccine becomes available, parents should bring children aged 6 months and older to get vaccinated, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP now recommends that kids be protected against the flu with either the trivalent vaccine, which contains three strains of the virus, or with a new quadrivalent vaccine that offers protection against four strains of flu. The quadrivalent vaccines for this year's flu season contain the same three strains as the trivalent vaccine, but it may also offer protection from an additional B strain. The AAP has not said that one vaccine is better than the other. Instead, the group said to get either one of these vaccines at the first opportunity. "Parents should not delay vaccinating their children to obtain a specific vaccine," Dr. Henry Bernstein, a ... Read more

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Could Flu Shots Help Prevent Heart Attacks?

Posted 22 Aug 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 21 – Getting a flu shot could help protect against a heart attack, Australian researchers say. Their new study found that hospitalized heart attack patients were about half as likely to have received a flu vaccination and about twice as likely to have gotten sick with the flu as people living in the same city who had not suffered a heart attack, leading them to conclude that flu shots might shield against heart attacks. Not everyone agrees it's fair to make that claim based on this study's findings, however. "To draw any definite conclusions from this study would be a bit of a jump at this point," says Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who was not involved in the research. Generally, in this kind of a study, researchers try to study two groups of people who are very similar except for their exposure to one or two variables of ... Read more

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Flu Vaccine Protects Millions Annually: CDC

Posted 19 Jun 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 19 – Flu shots likely prevented 13 million illnesses and more than 110,000 hospitalizations in the United States between 2005 and 2011, according to a new study. The impact of flu vaccination was greatest during 2010-2011, when 5 million flu cases, 2.1 million medical visits and 40,400 hospitalizations were avoided, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings, published June 19 in the journal PLoS One, are based on a calculation of the health-care burden of flu cases that would have occurred in the absence of vaccination. Factors such as illness and hospitalization rates during the flu season, vaccination coverage and vaccine effectiveness were considered in the calculation. "These results confirm the value of influenza vaccination, but highlight the need for more people to get vaccinated and the imperative for ... Read more

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Flu Shots at School Boost Vaccination Rates, Study Finds

Posted 10 Jun 2013 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 10 – Offering flu shots at elementary schools could reduce the number of flu cases and deaths among children, a new study suggests. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect children aged 6 months and older against seasonal flu, but vaccination rates among American children are low. Only about 40 percent of children received a 2012-2013 flu vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 90 percent of children who died from flu during 2012-2013 were not vaccinated, the CDC noted. The study, conducted in late 2009, included 32 elementary schools in the Rochester, N.Y., area. Two flu vaccination clinics were held four weeks apart at 21 of the schools, while no vaccination clinics were held at the 11 other schools. The flu vaccination rate among students at the schools where vaccination clinics were held was 13 percent higher than among ... Read more

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Flu Vaccine Safe for Kids With Crohn's, Colitis: Study

Posted 6 May 2013 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 6 – Yearly flu vaccinations are safe for children with inflammatory bowel disease, but too few of these youngsters get a flu shot because their parents worry about possible side effects, researchers report. Not only does vaccination help protect against the flu, it may even reduce inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms, according to the study, which was published May 6 in the journal Pediatrics. Children with inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, often experience chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, joint pain and other symptoms. The researchers looked at all children under age 19 diagnosed with IBD in Ontario, Canada, between 1999 and 2009. They found that about 25 percent of the IBD patients received a flu shot from a doctor or nurse practitioner and that these youngsters had no increase in IBD-related health issues after being ... Read more

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Flu Shot May Not Work as Well for Seniors

Posted 6 Feb 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6 – Seniors seem to get a weaker boost to their immune system following a flu shot than young people do, a small study shows. Experts say the findings essentially confirm what's been believed: The flu shot just doesn't work as well for older immune systems. But they also caution that the vaccine remains the best defense against flu misery. Older people are among those at greatest risk for flu complications, like pneumonia. Americans older than 65 have been hard-hit during the current, rough flu season: Late last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 98 of every 100,000 seniors were hospitalized with the flu for the week ending Jan. 19. So older adults should keep getting vaccinated every year, according to Nicholas Kelley, a research associate with the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, in ... Read more

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