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Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Posted 19 days ago 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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Certain Parents More Likely to Skip Kids' Flu Shot

Posted 3 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 3, 2016 – Children who see "alternative" health providers, such as acupuncturists or massage therapists, are less likely than other kids to get their annual flu shot, a new study suggests. Researchers found that of nearly 9,000 U.S. kids, those who'd received certain alternative therapies were one-quarter to 39 percent less likely to have gotten a flu shot in the past year. The findings do not prove a cause-and-effect connection, however. No one knows whether any alternative medicine providers advised parents against having their kids vaccinated, said Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious disease expert who was not involved in the study. But, he added, some alternative-therapy practitioners do tend to "reject certain aspects of evidence-based medicine." So it's possible they sometimes influence parents' decisions on flu vaccination, said Poland, a spokesperson for the ... Read more

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More Health Care Workers Need Flu Shots: CDC

Posted 2 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 30, 2016 – More U.S. health care workers need to get their annual flu shots, a new government report shows. Roughly one in every five American health care workers skips the yearly vaccination, and in some facilities that number exceeds half, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We owe it to our patients, as well as to other health care providers, to be vaccinated," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "This is one of the most important ways to prevent transmission of influenza, not only in the hospital but also in other health care settings," said Glatter, who was not involved with the new study. Getting a flu shot can lower the odds of patients contracting the flu from doctors, nurses and others, and reduce flu-related complications and deaths among health care workers and ... Read more

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Flagging Flu-Shot Rate Worries CDC

Posted 29 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 29, 2016 – The flu-vaccination rate sagged in the United States last season, causing concern among public health officials that more Americans might wave off a flu shot this year. Influenza vaccination coverage declined 1.5 percent across the entire U.S. population during the 2015-2016 flu season, with only 46 percent of Americans receiving the annual vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. "Flu is serious. Flu is unpredictable. Flu often gets not enough respect," CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden warned at a morning news conference. "If we could increase vaccination coverage in this country by just 5 percent, that would prevent about 800,000 illnesses and nearly 10,000 hospitalizations." Leading by example, Frieden received his own flu vaccination during the media briefing, which was hosted by the National Foundation for Infectious ... Read more

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How to Protect Yourself From the Seasonal Flu

Posted 23 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 23, 2016 – Don't let this year's flu season catch you by surprise. Experts say an annual flu shot is the best way to avoid the aches, fever, congestion and fatigue that flu brings – and to protect those who are at high risk for flu-related complications. "Every year, people die from influenza," said Cindy Weston, an assistant professor of nursing at Texas A&M University. "After sizable outbreaks, people will respond with large amounts of vaccinations, but they should be getting vaccinated every year to protect those most vulnerable, mainly children and the elderly." Now that it's fall, it's time for your shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu shot for everyone older than 6 months of age. This includes pregnant women. Babies less than 8 months old may need to get the vaccine in two doses. And people over age 65 should get the ... Read more

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Tips for Avoiding Back-to-School Germs, Illnesses

Posted 23 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 23, 2016 – Kids and germs seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. But, there are ways that parents can help protect their kids from the usual barrage of back-to-school illnesses, a health expert says. Make sure children get plenty of sleep and eat a well balanced diet, advises Jacqueline Stout-Aguilar. She's a registered nurse and an assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing. Most kids need at least nine hours of sleep each night, Stout-Aguilar said. It's also a good idea to make sure children get enough vitamin C to boost their immune system, she added. Parents should also teach their children how to contain germs and keep their hands clean. Show kids how to cover their coughs and sneezes with the inside of their elbow or a tissue, Stout-Aguilar said. She said kids must also be taught how to wash their hands properly. "It is important to wash your ... Read more

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Pediatricians' Group Advises Against Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

Posted 6 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Sept. 6, 2016 – The nasal spray flu vaccine is ineffective and should not be used in the upcoming flu season, says a leading group of U.S. pediatricians. All children aged 6 months and older should receive a seasonal flu shot during the 2016-17 flu season, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The statement supports the recommendation by U.S. health officials not to use the nasal spray flu vaccine this coming season. "New research shows that the flu shot provided significantly better protection in recent flu seasons compared with the nasal spray vaccine," statement co-author Dr. Henry Bernstein said in an AAP news release. The nasal spray vaccine's effectiveness among children aged 2 to 17 was just 3 percent in 2015-16, compared with 63 percent for the injected vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and ... Read more

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Flu Shot Tied to Fewer Hospitalizations, Deaths in Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Posted 26 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 26, 2016 – The seasonal flu vaccine may offer people with type 2 diabetes some protection against dying prematurely, a new study suggests. The flu shot also appeared to protect those with type 2 diabetes from hospitalizations for stroke, as well as heart and breathing problems, the study said. British researchers looked at a large group – more than 124,500 people – with type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes normally have a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, the researchers noted. During the seven-year study, the researchers found that flu vaccination was associated with a 19 percent reduction in flu-season hospital admissions for heart attack in people with type 2 diabetes. Hospital admissions for stroke were 30 percent lower for those who got a flu vaccination. Admissions were also down 22 percent for heart failure, and 15 percent for pneumonia or influenza ... Read more

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Pregnancy Flu Shot Protects Newborn for 8 Weeks: Study

Posted 5 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 5, 2016 – A flu shot during pregnancy protects newborns against the flu for about two months after birth, a new study finds. Previous studies have shown that flu vaccination during pregnancy helps protect newborns. This study shows the length of protection is likely limited to the first eight weeks of life, said Marta Nunes, of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and her co-authors. Researchers assessed more than 1,000 infants born to women given a flu shot during pregnancy. They found the vaccine's effectiveness was highest (85.6 percent) during the first eight weeks after birth. Effectiveness ranged from about 25 percent to 30 percent at ages 8 to 16 weeks, and 16 to 24 weeks. The findings were published online July 5 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The results are important because infants have high rates of flu, which puts them at risk ... Read more

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Drones Could Deliver Vaccines in Developing Countries

Posted 25 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 24, 2016 – Right now, people often associate the use of drones with warfare. But in the future they could serve humanitarian purposes, such as delivering aid to people in developing countries. For example, the pilotless flying machines might offer a cheaper and better way to deliver vaccines. And that could potentially boost vaccination rates in areas that can be difficult to reach now, a new study suggests. Using a computer model, researchers concluded that sending drones to deliver vaccines in low- and middle-income countries would be cheaper and quicker than by land-based vehicles. Cars and trucks are limited by road conditions and have high fuel and maintenance costs, the researchers said. "Many low- and middle-income countries are struggling to get lifesaving vaccines to people to keep them from getting sick or dying from preventable diseases," said senior study ... Read more

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Childhood Vaccinations Rarely Spur Seizures, Study Finds

Posted 6 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 6, 2016 – Certain vaccines can trigger fever-related seizures in young children, but the risk is so low that pediatricians might see one case every five to 10 years, a new study estimates. It has long been known that some vaccines carry a small seizure risk. But the researchers said the new report offers some hard numbers. And it suggests that even when babies and toddlers get three vaccines at once, they only develop fever-related seizures at a rate of 30 per 100,000 – at most. The findings should be "reassuring" to parents, said lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Duffy, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Looking at the big picture, the benefits of vaccination are much greater than the risk of febrile [fever-related] seizures," Duffy said. Up to 5 percent of young children will have a fever-related seizure at some point, according to the CDC. It usually ... Read more

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Flu Shot Helps Heart Failure Patients Avoid Hospital

Posted 1 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 1, 2016 – Getting a flu shot reduces heart failure patients' risk of hospitalization, a new study shows. "Uptake of the flu vaccination in heart failure patients is relatively low, ranging from less than 20 percent in low and middle-income countries to 50 to 70 percent in high income countries like the U.K.," said study author Kazem Rahimi. He is deputy director of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in England. "This may partly be because there is no strong evidence to support the recommendation in these patients," he said. Also, some research had suggested that vaccination might be less effective in heart failure patients than in the general population because of their blunted immune response, he added. Heart failure means the heart is no longer able to pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body's needs. It's one of the most common ... Read more

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Expectant Mom's Flu Shot Protects 2

Posted 3 May 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 3, 2016 – When a pregnant woman gets vaccinated for the flu, the protection extends to her baby too, new research confirms. Babies 6 months and younger whose mothers had a flu vaccine during pregnancy were 70 percent less likely to have lab-confirmed flu than babies born to mothers who didn't have the immunization while pregnant. In addition, the babies born to mothers immunized during pregnancy had an 80 percent reduction in flu-related hospitalizations, the study found. "Children younger than 6 months are too young to be vaccinated," said the study's lead author, Dr. Julie Shakib. "The best way to protect infants younger than 6 months is to make sure everyone around them is vaccinated. Immunizing pregnant women provides immunity to the baby through the placenta. Immunizing others who live with or care for the baby prevents them from getting the flu and passing it to the ... Read more

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