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Flublok 2015-2016 News

Why Winter Weather Brings More Flu

Posted 19 hours ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 17, 2017 – Winter's first chill may bring an unwelcome guest: flu outbreaks, a new study says. Researchers looked at data on weather and flu cases in Gothenburg, Sweden, and found that flu outbreaks occurred about one week after the first stretch of cold weather and low humidity. "According to our calculations, a cold week with an average temperature below zero degree Celsius [32 degrees Fahrenheit] precedes the start of the flu epidemic," said study researcher Nicklas Sundell. He's an infectious diseases specialist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, which is affiliated with the University of Gothenburg. "We believe that this sudden drop in temperature contributes to 'kick-start' the epidemic. Once the epidemic has started, it continues even if temperatures rise. Once people are sick and contagious, many more may become infected," Sundell said in a university news ... Read more

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Flu Tightens Its Hold on the Nation

Posted 5 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 13, 2017 – The pace of flu activity continues to quicken across the United States, and probably hasn't peaked yet. That's the assessment of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is urging the most vulnerable – the very young, the elderly, the chronically ill and pregnant women – to get their flu shots before it's too late. "Even though activity is elevated, we are probably not at peak yet," Lynnette Brammer, a CDC epidemiologist, said Friday. "Even if we were at peak, you've still got half the season to go," she added. Right now, the heaviest flu activity is occurring along the East and West Coasts, Brammer said. "The Northwest has been hit harder and earlier, and activity could have peaked there, but we won't know that for a couple of weeks," she said. Only the center of the country has been largely spared, but Brammer expects flu activity to ... Read more

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Medical Experts Alarmed at Trump's Reported Support of Vaccine Skeptic

Posted 7 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 – The U.S. medical community is responding with reactions ranging from apprehension to dismay at reports that President-elect Donald Trump reportedly asked a renowned vaccine skeptic to head a new commission on vaccine safety. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has written articles and books claiming a link between childhood vaccines and autism, said Tuesday that Trump had offered him the post during a meeting earlier that day. A Trump spokeswoman threw some doubt on Kennedy's assertion, however, stating hours later that while the president-elect is interested in a commission on autism, no final decision has been made. Nonetheless, a host of medical societies, autism advocacy groups and individual physicians immediately denounced the potential development, which they said would shake the public's faith in a practice that regularly protects millions of people from ... Read more

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Flu Season Starting to Peak

Posted 12 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 6, 2017 – Flu season is in full swing and it's starting to look like a severe one, U.S. health officials said Friday. That's why they're urging that the most vulnerable – the very young, the elderly, the chronically ill and pregnant women – get their shots before it's too late. "We are still a few weeks from the peak of flu season, and then there's the second half of season to go," said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "I would be surprised if this was the peak." The prominent strain this time around is H3N2, which often signals a severe season that hits the oldest and youngest the hardest, she said. "Not all H3 years are severe years, but a lot of the severe years are H3 years," Brammer said. Influenza H1N1 and influenza B viruses are also circulating throughout the country, she added. Although the height of ... Read more

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Flu Shots Are Worth It

Posted 28 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28, 2016 – The flu can be a serious threat to your health, but you can protect yourself by getting a flu shot, health experts say. "The flu shot can reduce the risk of hospitalization and severe disease due to the influenza virus in addition to reducing the incidence or severity," said Kevin Harrod. He's a professor in the department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The flu vaccine is especially beneficial to children, the elderly, people with underlying chronic disease, such as heart disease, and women during and after pregnancy, he added. About 970,000 Americans were hospitalized due to the flu in 2014, and more than 40 million were affected by flu-related illnesses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During recent flu seasons, up to 90 percent of flu-related deaths have occurred in ... Read more

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Bird Flu Strain May Have Jumped From Cat to Human

Posted 23 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 23, 2016 – A veterinarian appears to have been infected with a strain of avian flu known as H7N2 that spread among more than 100 cats housed at New York City animal shelters. If confirmed, this would be the first known transmission of this bird flu strain from cat to human, officials said. New York City health officials said the vet has recovered from a mild illness, and there's no sign that the flu has spread to shelter workers or those who've adopted cats. Still, the city's top health official is calling for caution. "Our investigation confirms that the risk to human health from H7N2 is low, but we are urging New Yorkers who have adopted cats from a shelter or rescue group within the past three weeks to be alert for symptoms in their pets," city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a health department news release. "We are contacting people who may have been ... Read more

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There's Still Time for Your Flu Shot

Posted 23 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 23, 2016 – Flu needn't spoil the start of the new year, say U.S. health officials who urge children and adults to get vaccinated. "Most of the flu season is still ahead of us, so it's not too late to get vaccinated," said Dr. Joseph Bresee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But, get the shot soon because it can take several weeks to produce enough antibodies to give you maximum protection, the agency notes. "We often see spikes in flu during and right after the holidays as people congregate and travel in planes that bring people close together," said Bresee, who is chief of epidemiology and prevention in the CDC's influenza division. Flu activity will increase in most parts of the country over the next several weeks, before peaking in the next few months, he said. The hardest-hit areas so far are New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the Southeast and the ... Read more

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Health Tip: Getting Your Child Vaccinated

Posted 22 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

-- Vaccinations are a necessary part of keeping your child healthy, but the pain and fear may be difficult to endure. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests: Talk to the pediatrician about ways to manage your child's pain. Distract a young child during the shot by singing a song, blowing bubbles or playing a game. Act the doctor about using a numbing spray or cream. Breast-feed or offer a pacifier to babies during vaccination. Stay calm and reassure your child that everything is OK. Read more

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Flu Season's Starting to Rear Its Head

Posted 18 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 16, 2016 – Flu season is starting to take hold across the country, and U.S. health officials are urging everyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot yet to get one now. "Flu activity is still pretty low, but it's starting to increase," Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday. Although flu is scattered throughout the United States, the hardest hit places so far are New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the Southeast and the Northwest, Brammer said. Most of the virus out there is influenza H3N2, she added. That strain is part of this year's flu vaccine, according to the CDC. "And this week for the first time, we have data on initial hospitalizations," Brammer said. "The range of hospitalization is still low, however. As you would suspect with a H3N2 season, the highest rate right now is in the elderly." The overall rate ... Read more

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Health Tip: Who Needs a Flu Shot?

Posted 14 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

-- Debating whether to get a flu shot? With few exceptions, most people will benefit and a few in particular really need the vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says these people are at greatest risk of flu and should get the shot: Children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, and seniors aged 50 and older. People with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease or kidney disease. Also, anyone with a suppressed immune system. Pregnant women. Children on aspirin therapy. Anyone living in a nursing home or long-term care facility. People who work in a health-care setting. People who live with young children or older adults. People who are obese. People of Alaskan or American Indian descent. Read more

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Just 40 Percent of Americans Vaccinated for Flu This Season

Posted 12 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2016 – Only about two out of five Americans had gotten this season's flu shot as of early November, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. About 37 percent of children between 6 months and 17 years old have gotten the flu vaccine this year. And approximately 41 percent of adults aged 18 and older have received the shot. The overall rate is similar to the vaccination rate at the same time last year, the CDC noted. "We are glad to see that people are making the decision to protect themselves and their families from flu, but coverage is still low and we urge people to get vaccinated if they haven't yet," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "We have a tool that is proven to prevent flu illness and hospitalization, but millions of people are not taking advantage of it. Too many ... Read more

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More Pregnant Women Getting Flu Shot, But Improvement Needed

Posted 8 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2016 – Getting a flu shot during pregnancy can protect both a mom-to-be and her baby. And while the percentage of pregnant American women who got the vaccine has doubled in recent years, too many still go without the shot, researchers say. "Although the trend is encouraging, coverage still falls far short of the 2016 [U.S.] recommendation that all pregnant women who are or might become pregnant during flu season be vaccinated," according to a team led by Stephen Kerr, an epidemiologist at Boston University. Kerr's team has tracked data on vaccinations received during pregnancy for more than 5,300 U.S. women since 2005. The investigators found that in the flu seasons before the 2009-2010 H1N1 flu pandemic, only one in every five pregnant women in the study got an influenza vaccine. However, that number jumped to 33 percent of the women during the 2009-2010 flu ... Read more

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Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Posted 19 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 – With flu season right around the corner, U.S. health officials are urging everyone to get their flu shot now so they'll be protected from the potentially serious complications of influenza. "The fact that flu activity hasn't picked up dramatically yet means there is plenty of time for people to get vaccinated if they haven't already," said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year's flu season is starting out much like last year, Brammer said. Currently, influenza H3N2 is the predominant strain, she said, although H1N1 is also circulating. Last year, the H3N2 virus started out as the dominant strain, only to be displaced by H1N1 as flu season hit full swing. "It ended up being an H1N1 season," she said. "It's similar to a lot of years right now," Brammer added. "Things should start to pick up in the ... Read more

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Why You Need a Flu Shot Now

Posted 1 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 1, 2016 – Flu season is just about here, and now's the time to protect yourself with a flu shot, doctors say. "Every year about 40 million people in the United States get the flu. About 19 million people will have to see a doctor," said Dr. Samuel Stanley Jr., an infectious disease specialist and president of Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. "Many millions of people will miss work, and a lot of students miss classes," Stanley said in a university news release. The best protection is a flu shot, Stanly said. Others agree. "Vaccination is one of the best ways to add protection against many diseases, including influenza," said Dr. Susan Donelan, medical director of health-care epidemiology at Stony Brook University Hospital. "Even if you do get the flu, if you have been vaccinated, it may make the actual disease milder and better tolerated," she explained. Getting ... Read more

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Many Parents Think a Flu Shot Is Unnecessary

Posted 5 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 4, 2016 – Many American parents who don't get their children flu shots say they don't see the need, according to a new study. "The first and most common reason could encompass a belief that risk for contracting influenza is low in their family as well as that the vaccine offers little protection," said study lead author Dr. Scott Field of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. It's possible that people who haven't had the flu themselves underestimate its potential severity, he suggested. For the study, during the 2012-2013 flu season, researchers questioned 131 parents of children ages 9 months to 18 years old. They asked about the children's history of flu and flu vaccination, reasons for not having their children vaccinated, and if they planned to have their children vaccinated for the next flu season. The three most common reasons parents gave for not getting ... Read more

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