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Anti-Vaccine Family Members, Friends Spur Many Moms to Delay Baby's Shots

Posted 3 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 18, 2017 – If a pregnant woman hears anti-vaccine messages from family or friends about childhood immunizations, she's much more likely to delay her baby's shots, new research shows. And that's true even if she hears positive messages after the discouraging ones, the New Zealand investigators found. "Pregnancy is an important time for educating about infant immunization," said study co-author Dr. Cameron Grant, head of the department of pediatrics, child and youth health at the University of Auckland. "This very important aspect of medical education should not be left until after the child is born. Health professionals caring for pregnant women have a very important role to play in determining the immunization intentions of these future parents, and in promoting infant immunization," he said. The study included information from more than 6,000 pregnant women in New ... Read more

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Recent Flu Shot Shouldn't Prevent Vaccination During Pregnancy

Posted 1 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 1, 2017 – Because pregnant women and newborns are particularly vulnerable to the flu and its complications, guidelines recommend a flu shot during pregnancy. However, it wasn't known whether that vaccine would work if a woman had already received a flu shot recently. But a new study found that mother and baby will both be well-protected by a flu shot given during pregnancy, regardless of whether the mother got another one recently. "Vaccinations in pregnant women work whether they have the vaccine the previous year or not," said study co-author Dr. Octavio Ramilo. He is chief of the infectious diseases division at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "As soon as we know you are pregnant, you should get a flu shot. The sooner the better," Ramilo said. Researchers have learned in recent years that flu shots are valuable for more than the elderly and sick people ... Read more

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Bye-Bye Flu Shot, Hello Patch?

Posted 28 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 27, 2017 – An experimental flu vaccine patch with dissolving microneedles appears safe and effective, a preliminary study shows. The patch has 100 solid, water-soluble and painless microneedles that are just long enough to penetrate the skin. Researchers say it could offer a pain-free and more convenient alternative to flu shots. "This bandage-strip sized patch of painless and dissolvable needles can transform how we get vaccinated," said Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, director of the U.S. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which funded the study. "A particularly attractive feature is that this vaccination patch could be delivered in the mail and self-administered. In addition, this technology holds promise for delivering other vaccines in the future," he said in an institute news release. The study of 100 adults found that the patch triggered a strong ... Read more

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Immunizations for High Flyin' Travelers

Posted 26 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 26, 2017 – Nothing spoils a trip faster than getting sick. And a good way to protect yourself is by getting certain vaccinations before you leave home. Regardless of your destination, make sure you're up to date on routine immunizations like MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), DPT (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), varicella (chicken pox), polio and the flu shot. You may also need other vaccinations (as well as medications), depending on where you're going, how long you'll be there, what you'll be doing, and whether you'll be traveling to a country outside the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends scheduling a visit with your doctor four to six weeks before your trip to go over your needs – some shots must be given weeks in advance. The CDC has a travel health website (see below) that lets you look up recommended as ... Read more

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Flu Shot Falls Short More Often for Obese People: Study

Posted 13 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 13, 2017 – A flu shot is the best way to avoid getting sick, but new research reveals the vaccine doesn't work as well for people who are obese. Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found obese people who got a flu shot were twice as likely as their normal-weight peers to still get sick. Obesity is tied to an increased risk for several chronic health issues, the study authors explained. People who are obese are also more likely to die from the flu, they added. For the study, the researchers compared effectiveness of the flu vaccine among 1,022 adults. Participants received the seasonal trivalent inactivated flu vaccine during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 flu seasons. The researchers evaluated their symptoms and used lab tests to measure their immune system's response to the shot. The study, published recently in the International Journal of ... Read more

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Is Your Child's Day Care Center Ready for Pandemic Flu?

Posted 16 May 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 15, 2017 – The vast majority of U.S. child care centers are not fully prepared to handle the risks posed by a possible influenza pandemic, a new investigation warns. The finding is based on the results of two flu-preparedness telephone surveys conducted in 2008 and 2016, both before and after the 2009 H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic. During both surveys, only 7 percent of child care center directors said that they had taken sufficient steps to prepare, even though about two-thirds said they were concerned about the threat. The main issues were "a lack of knowledge of what to do to prepare, where to find information, not having the time, and lacking resources," said study author Dr. Timothy Shope. Shope is an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H1N1 pandemic originated in ... Read more

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Slimy Frog Might Be a Flu Fighter

Posted 18 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 18, 2017 – It sounds like weird science, but the slime that coats the skin of South Indian frogs might fight some strains of the flu. A new mouse study suggests this is so, although research in animals frequently doesn't pan out in humans. What the researchers found was that certain peptides in the frogs' skin mucus can destroy the H1 variety of influenza viruses. It was known that frogs' skin can secrete peptides that protect against bacteria. Peptides are short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. The new findings suggest these peptides could help lead to new antiviral treatments as well, the researchers said. Such drugs could prove important when vaccines aren't available to deal with new strains of pandemic flu, or when known flu strains develop resistance to current medications, said study senior author Joshy Jacob. One of the peptides in the ... Read more

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When Parents Get Vaccinated, Their Kids Do Too

Posted 17 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 17, 2017 – When parents get a flu shot, their kids are more likely to be vaccinated against not only the flu, but also other diseases, new research reveals. Investigators first focused on the flu vaccine, and found that the kids of parents who got the flu shot were nearly three times more likely to get the shot themselves. But the trickle-down effect did not stop there. When parents got flu shots, they were also more likely to make sure their kids were vaccinated against other diseases, especially the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV vaccine protects against several cancers, including cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men. And the reverse held true. "Parents who chose not to immunize themselves for influenza were more likely to have children who weren't immunized against other diseases, such as HPV," said study lead researcher Steve Robison, from the Oregon ... Read more

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Flu Season All But Over in U.S.

Posted 15 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, April 14, 2017 – This year's flu season is rapidly winding down and is expected to end within the next couple of weeks, U.S. health officials predicted Friday. It was a year much like the past few flu seasons, when the H3N2 virus was the most prevalent strain. That strain usually is hardest on the elderly and the very young. But this flu season there was a slight twist – middle-aged people were more affected than children, said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We are not done yet, there's still flu out there, but it is declining," she said. "This is the first week that influenza A and B are both going down." The 2016-2017 season followed a typical course, Brammer said. "We had a large wave of influenza H3N2 and then we had a smaller wave of influenza B at the end – not an uncommon pattern," she said. However, the ... Read more

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Most U.S. Kids Who Die From Flu Are Unvaccinated

Posted 3 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 3, 2017 – The yearly flu shot could prevent most flu-related deaths among children and teenagers, a new U.S. government study estimates. Researchers found that about three-quarters of U.S. kids who died of flu complications between 2010 and 2014 were unvaccinated before they fell ill. If all children got their yearly flu shot, 65 percent of those deaths could be prevented, the researchers estimated. Experts said the findings, published online April 3 in Pediatrics, bolster what health officials already recommend: Adults and children age 6 months and up should be vaccinated ahead of every flu season. "This shows you, once again, that kids should get their flu shot," said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It also highlights a fact that many parents may not know: "Healthy children can, and do, die of the flu," said Offit, ... Read more

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Black Americans More Likely to Skip Flu Shot

Posted 15 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2017 – More than half of American adults don't get an annual flu shot, and black Americans are even less likely to do so because of concerns about side effects, researchers report. Campaigns advocating annual free flu shots should not only focus on the dangers of the seasonal flu but also address fears about the vaccine by explaining how it works, the study authors advised. "Most people have very limited understanding of the way vaccine recommendations are determined and how vaccines are made and distributed," explained study author Vicki Freimuth, a professor of health and risk communication at the University of Georgia. "Perhaps increasing knowledge about the process and its many contributing organizations may decrease perception of risk from the vaccine," Freimuth added in a news release from the Society for Risk Analysis. Only 41 percent of black adults in the ... Read more

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Don't Skip Veggies in Winter

Posted 21 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 20, 2017 – Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't eat fresh, healthy foods. There are five types of foods you should try to consume during the winter months, according to health experts at the Cleveland Clinic who offer these suggestions: While it can be hard to find local produce during the winter, root vegetables such as beets, carrots and turnips can withstand the cold and are available. Roast carrots to get a dose of beta-carotene, or boil turnips for vitamins A and C. Oatmeal provides nutrients that are essential during winter. It's high in zinc (important for your immune system) and soluble fiber, which is associated with heart health. Instant oatmeal is more convenient but also more expensive. If you're on a budget, choose old-fashioned oats. Soup is another good food choice in winter, but hold the cream, salt and beef. Try soup recipes that call for ... Read more

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Flu Vaccine a Pretty Good Match for Viruses This Year: CDC

Posted 17 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2017 – It's not perfect, but this year's flu vaccine is a fairly good match for the circulating viruses, U.S. health officials reported Thursday. Overall, the vaccine is 48 percent effective. For the predominant circulating influenza A type H3N2 flu strain, its effectiveness comes in at 43 percent. But it's 73 percent effective against influenza B viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The effectiveness is a little bit lower than we would like to see, but it's similar to what we have seen for H3 viruses when the vaccine is a good match for what's circulating," said Brendan Flannery, a CDC epidemiologist. Indications are that infections are still rising in certain regions of the country, like the Midwest, but declining in others, like the Northwest. This is shaping up as a moderately severe flu season, he added. In similar seasons, ... Read more

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Eczema May Leave Some Flu Shots Less Effective, Study Finds

Posted 13 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 13, 2017 – It's still flu season, and not too late to get your flu shot. But a new study suggests that people with eczema should request the vaccine be given into the muscle, rather than just under the skin. That's because the effectiveness of flu shots in people with eczema appears to vary, depending on how it's given, researchers report. The problem seems to lie with the fact that the cracked, dry skin of eczema patients is often colonized by Staphylococcus bacteria. And that seems to dampen the immune response from the flu vaccine – if the shot is given into the skin, the researchers said. "Staphylococcus infections are a widespread problem among [eczema] patients, with up to 90 percent of patients with severe disease colonized by the bacteria," lead researcher Dr. Donald Leung, of National Jewish Health in Denver, said in a hospital news release. He's head of ... Read more

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Flu Cases Spiking Across the United States: CDC

Posted 10 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 10, 2017 – Flu activity spiked sharply across the United States this week, federal health officials reported Friday. Deaths from flu-related conditions continued at high levels, and hospitalizations among people over 65 and under the age of 4 are up. So far, 20 children have died from flu, said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "More children have died this year than at the same time last year," said Brammer. "This may end up being a bad year for kids, but we just don't know yet. Deaths look high for this year because last year was light. A lot of this is timing." Overall last year, 128 children died from flu-related complications, according to the CDC. Hospitalizations among people in their 50s and 60s are also increasing, and may actually be outpacing those for children, the CDC reported. Health officials noted ... Read more

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