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Flu Shot Might Cut Stillbirth Risk

Posted 31 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 31, 2016 – A seasonal flu shot may reduce a pregnant woman's risk of stillbirth, according to a new study. Australian researchers examined nearly 58,000 births to mothers in the western part of the country during the 2012 and 2013 flu seasons. More than 5,000 births were to women who received a flu shot during pregnancy. Women who received the flu vaccine had a 51 percent lower risk of stillbirth than those who did not receive the vaccine, the study found. The researchers also found that stillbirth rates rose after flu season and fell in the months prior to flu season, but said these seasonal differences were not statistically significant. The study was published March 31 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. "During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, we saw a similar reduction in stillbirths following vaccination," study author Annette Regan, of the Western Australia ... Read more

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Flu Season Hasn't Peaked Yet

Posted 19 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 18, 2016 – This flu season continues to be the mildest in the past three years, U.S. health officials say. But flu is still cropping up in new areas of the country, and flu season isn't over yet, the experts cautioned. In most years, flu season peaks in February or early March, but as of this week, flu is still spreading and the peak is not in sight yet, according to Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's influenza division. "Flu activity is still going up," she said. "It's going to be a later peak." Brammer is still expecting the season to peak in March, but it could linger on until April. On the plus side, this year's flu vaccine is a good match for the circulating flu viruses. The vaccine is about 59 percent effective this year, the CDC said. That's much better than last year when the vaccine didn't contain the ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Influenza Prophylaxis

Flu Shot Safe for Surgery Patients in Hospital: Study

Posted 14 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 14, 2016 – Surgery patients don't have an increased risk for complications if they receive a flu shot in the hospital, a new study suggests. The findings support routine flu vaccination for surgery patients while hospitalized, the Kaiser Permanente researchers said. "Historically, there has been concern among surgeons that vaccinating patients while they are in the hospital can contribute to increased risk of vaccine-related fever or muscle pain, which might be incorrectly attributed to surgical complications," lead author Sara Tartof, from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, said in a Kaiser news release. "There has been no data to support that concern. In fact, our study findings show hospital stays are a fine time to vaccinate patients, particularly those who are older and at high risk of complications due to the flu," she ... Read more

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Many Parents Downplay Value of Flu Shot, Poll Finds

Posted 26 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 26, 2016 – Only about half of American parents took their kids to get flu shots this season, with many believing it is less important or less effective than other vaccines, a new poll found. "In exploring why some parents do not have their child get the flu vaccine, we found that many parents do not believe that flu vaccine is as safe, effective or important as the other vaccines their children receive," said Sarah Clark, associate director of the poll. Annual flu shots are recommended for children aged 6 months to 18 years. But only 52 percent of the parents polled said their child received a flu shot this season, according to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. Fifty-nine percent of parents whose child did not receive the flu vaccine said the shot is less important than other childhood vaccines, compared with 14 ... Read more

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Flu Season Continues to Be Mild: CDC

Posted 25 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2016 – This year's flu season continues to be a mild one, with low rates of hospitalizations and flu-related deaths, U.S. health officials reported Wednesday. However, flu activity is picking up a bit and the season isn't expected to peak for several weeks, probably some time in March, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. "Last week influenza activity did increase a bit more and at a little bit faster rate," said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the CDC's influenza division. Doctor visits for flu last week increased from 2.5 percent of all visits to 3.4 percent, Brammer said. "To date, it's still been a mild season, with low levels of hospitalizations and low levels of flu-associated deaths," she said. This flu season is a welcome change from last year, which saw a particularly early and nasty flu season. By this time last ... Read more

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Parenthood May Alter Immune System, Research Suggests

Posted 18 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17, 2016 – While most people know that parenting is a stressful, sleep-depriving undertaking, new research suggests it may also rewire the immune system. The study found that parenting seems to have a more significant effect on the immune system than the flu vaccine or gastroenteritis, commonly called the stomach flu. "That's at least something for prospective parents to consider – the sleep deprivation, stress, chronic infections and all the other challenges of parenting does more to our body than just gives us grey hairs," study co-leader Dr. Adrian Liston said in a news release from the Babraham Institute in the United Kingdom. "I think that any parents of a nursery- or school-age child can appreciate the effect a child has on your immune system," added Liston, a researcher at VIB and KU Leuven in Belgium. For the study, researchers compared the immune systems of ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Bacterial Infection, Influenza, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Viral Infection, FluLaval, Afluria, FluMist, Fluzone, Flucelvax, Fluzone High-Dose, Influenza Prophylaxis, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Fluzone Intradermal, Fluarix Quadrivalent, Fluzone PFS, Fluad, Fluarix, Flucelvax 2015-2016

Flu Shot May Guard Against Irregular Heart Rate: Study

Posted 10 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 10, 2016 – Along with reducing your flu risk, a flu shot may protect you from a common heart rhythm disorder that significantly increases stroke risk, researchers report. Their study of about 57,000 people in Taiwan found a significant association between the flu and new cases of atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. The condition has been linked to a fivefold increased risk of stroke, according to researchers. Among people who had not received a flu shot, those who got the flu were 18 percent more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than those who did not get the flu. The risk among vaccinated people who got the flu was about the same as unvaccinated people who did not get the flu, the study authors said. Flu vaccination was consistently associated with a lower risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) in different ... Read more

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For Super Bowl Fans, Flu Can Be an Unwanted Catch

Posted 2 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 2, 2016 – Football fans, take note: You run the risk of being blindsided by the flu if you let your defenses down on Super Bowl Sunday, researchers warn. They analyzed data from areas that had teams in the Super Bowl between 1974 and 2009 and found that those regions had an 18 percent spike in flu-related deaths among people older than 65, one of the groups of people most vulnerable to the flu. The findings were strongest in years with more virulent flu strains, or when the Super Bowl occurred closer to the peak of the flu season, according to the study in the winter issue of the American Journal of Health Economics. "The mechanism that's driving this is the increased socialization that happens as a result of the team being successful," study author Nicholas Sanders, an assistant professor of economics at Cornell University's Department of Policy Analysis and Management, ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, FluLaval, Afluria, FluMist, Fluzone, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, Fluzone High-Dose, Influenza Prophylaxis, Flucelvax, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, FluMist Quadrivalent, Fluzone PFS, Fluarix, Agriflu, Fluzone SV, Flublok, Fluzone Quadrivalent, Flublok 2015-2016, Flushield, FluLaval Quadrivalent

Less Than Half of U.S. Babies Receive Flu Vaccine: CDC

Posted 2 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 2, 2016 – Only about four out of 10 U.S. babies aged 6 months to 23 months are getting vaccinated against the flu, federal health officials reported Tuesday. Between the 2002-2003 and 2011-2012 flu seasons, the number of infants who received flu shots increased from just under 5 percent to almost 45 percent, according to a new study. However, that falls far short of the recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that children 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. "While flu vaccination for children has gone up, there is still a long way to go to protect every child," said study lead researcher Tammy Santibanez, an epidemiologist with CDC's National Immunization Program. "We also know that more effort needs to be put into encouraging black parents and children, and Hispanic parents and children to get the flu vaccine," she said. Flu is ... Read more

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Flu Season Stays Mild, With Slow Uptick in Activity

Posted 22 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 22, 2016 – Halfway through this year's rather mild flu season, disease activity is still increasing, albeit slowly, a U.S. health official said Friday. "Activity is continuing to increase; it looks a little bit more impressive this week," said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, this flu season has been much milder and kicked in later than last year. By this time last year, flu was already severe and sending thousands of older Americans to the hospital, Brammer said. In fact, "by this time last year we had peaked and were coming down," she noted. Unlike last year, this season the H1N1 strain of the flu is the most common circulating strain, replacing the H3N2 strain, Brammer said. "But H3N2 is still hanging in there, it's not going away," she said. "We've got a little bit of everything out there." Both of ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Influenza Prophylaxis

U.S. Flu Activity Remains Low: CDC

Posted 9 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2016 – Flu activity remains low in the United States, possibly due to the mild temperatures that have blanketed much of the nation, federal health officials said Friday. But officials expect flu activity to pick up in the next few weeks, so anyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot should get one now. "Flu is relatively low, but it's starting to increase and there is still time to get vaccinated," said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the influenza division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year's slow start to the flu season isn't out of the ordinary – other flu seasons have had the same pattern, Brammer said. "The last three years' flu season was earlier than normal, so this one feels late," she said. "But this is really not unusual for flu season." Brammer expects flu activity to pick up in the next few weeks. In past similar flu seasons, ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Influenza Prophylaxis

Protect Yourself From Colds and Flu This Winter

Posted 9 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2016 – Cold and flu season is here, but that doesn't mean you have to resign yourself to days of misery. There are a number of ways you can protect yourself. While there's no vaccine to protect against colds, nearly everyone aged 6 months and older should receive a flu vaccination, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine is available as a shot or nasal spray. It's best to be vaccinated by October, but getting the vaccine in January or later can still offer protection, the FDA said. Flu vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for serious flu complications. The FDA said this group includes: children younger than 5 years, and especially those younger than 2; pregnant women; people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease; people 65 and older; and health care workers. So what can you do ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Asthma, Influenza, Cold Symptoms, Sore Throat, Influenza Prophylaxis, Influenza with Pneumonia

It's Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

Posted 30 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 30, 2015 – Anyone who hasn't had a flu shot this season should make a point to get vaccinated now, U.S. health officials advise. Flu activity usually peaks in January or February, and flu can strike as late as May, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As long as the virus is circulating, it's not too late to receive a flu shot and protect yourself and others against this seasonal misery. So far, the flu season has been mild, but U.S. health officials expect activity to pick up in the next few weeks. "Influenza seasons and severity are often unpredictable. Annual influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza among people 6 months of age and older," Marion Gruber, director of FDA's Office of Vaccine Research and Review, said in an agency news release. "However, taking such practical measures as washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and ... Read more

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Many Americans Dubious of Flu Shot's Effectiveness

Posted 15 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 15, 2015 – Less than half of Americans strongly believe that the flu shot will help them avoid the illness, and one-third don't believe it will protect them at all, a new survey finds. The fact that The Harris Poll turned up so many flu shot doubters is troubling, one expert said, because immunization does offer protection. "Vaccination can provide as much as a 60 to 70 percent guarantee of protection against the flu," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Why wouldn't everyone want as much protection as possible?" However, the online survey of 2,225 adults, conducted in mid-October, found that 32 percent didn't think flu vaccination would protect them, while only 43 percent "strongly believed" a flu shot offers help against the virus. And nearly half of those surveyed – 42 percent – thought "people take the flu season ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Diagnosis and Investigation, FluLaval, Afluria, FluMist, Fluzone, Flucelvax, Influenza Prophylaxis, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, Fluzone High-Dose, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, FluLaval Quadrivalent, Fluzone PFS, Fluarix, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live, Trivalent, Fluvirin Preservative-Free, Fluzone SV, Fluzone Intradermal, Fluarix Quadrivalent, Flushield

Majority of U.S. Hospitals Don't Require Flu Shots for Staffers: Survey

Posted 15 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 15, 2015 – More than half of U.S. hospitals don't require health care providers to get a seasonal flu shot, a new study finds. In the 2013 survey of infection control specialists at 386 hospitals nationwide, about 43 percent said flu vaccination was mandatory for all health care providers. About 10 percent more said their hospital would require the shot the next flu season. The researchers also found that only 1.3 percent of Veterans Affairs hospitals required all health care providers to get a flu shot. The VA wants near-universal flu vaccination in its hospitals by 2020, according to the study in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. Opposition from employee unions or concerns about staff opposition were reasons why nearly 28 percent of VA hospitals and about 15 percent of non-VA hospitals did not require flu vaccination, according to the report. A ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Avian Influenza, FluLaval, Afluria, FluMist, Fluzone, Influenza Prophylaxis, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, Fluzone High-Dose, Flucelvax, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Fluad, Flucelvax 2015-2016, Fluzone PFS, Fluarix, FluMist Quadrivalent, Fluzone SV, Agriflu, Flublok, Flushield

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