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

Posted 11 days ago 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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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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Flu Hospitalizations, Deaths Increasing: CDC

Posted 27 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 27, 2017 – Although this year's flu season appears to be an average one so far, more hospitalizations are being reported and deaths are increasing, federal health officials reported Friday. And it will be several weeks before the season peaks, said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We are starting to see cases of severe disease and we are seeing excess deaths, most likely due to influenza," she said. Even though deaths and hospitalizations are increasing, Brammer didn't describe this year's flu season as particularly severe. "It's looking like an average influenza season," she said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's still not too late to get a flu shot. That's particularly important for the most vulnerable – the very young, the elderly, the chronically ill and pregnant women, ... Read more

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Flu Cases Starting to Spread: CDC

Posted 20 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2017 – Flu activity continues to rise across the United States and there's been a slight uptick in the number of deaths in the last week, federal health officials reported Friday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's still not too late to get a flu shot. That's particularly important for the most vulnerable – the very young, the elderly, the chronically ill and pregnant women, officials said. "It would have been better to get vaccinated early, but there is still potential benefit from the vaccine," Lynnette Brammer, a CDC epidemiologist, said Friday. She said flu activity is "still going up – fairly slowly – but it's still increasing." "We are starting to see an increase in flu-related deaths," she added, "although deaths aren't at a level considered epidemic." The CDC doesn't track the number of adults who die from flu, but it does keep ... 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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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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Your Birth Year Might Help Shield You From Bird Flu Strains

Posted 10 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2016 – The year you were born could help predict your risk of becoming seriously ill or dying after exposure to a flu virus that jumped from animals to humans, researchers suggest. It was believed that previous exposure to a flu virus offered people little to no protection against new animal-origin flu viruses, according to investigators from the University of Arizona in Tucson and the University of California, Los Angeles. But an analysis of all-known cases of severe illness or death caused by the H5N1 and H7N9 bird flu viruses showed that the first infection with flu virus as child helps determine which new bird flu viruses people would be protected against in the future. Depending on when people were born, they were infected with different types of flu viruses for the first time as children, the researchers explained. This causes their bodies to produce different ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Influenza A, Avian Influenza, Influenza with Pneumonia

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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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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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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With Flu Shot, Timing May Be Everything

Posted 26 Apr 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 26, 2016 – Flu shots may be more effective when people get them in the morning than in the afternoon, a new study suggests. British researchers assessed 276 people 65 and older who received vaccinations against three different flu strains between 2011 and 2013. The patients received the vaccines either between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., or 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. People in the morning group had a much larger increase in antibodies against two of the flu strains one month after vaccination, the researchers found. However, with the third flu strain, there was no significant difference between the morning and afternoon groups. "We know that there are fluctuations in immune responses throughout the day and wanted to examine whether this would extend to the antibody response to vaccination," said lead investigator Anna Phillips. She's with the University of Birmingham's School of Sport, ... Read more

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Take Care in the Bitter Cold

Posted 19 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 – As frigid temperatures send much of the northern half of the United States into a deep freeze, doctors say people need to take steps to avoid dangerous drops in body temperature, or hypothermia. "It is important to take measures to stay warm, paying special attention to the head and scalp [as well as the nose, neck and ears], which are often exposed to the cold air and at risk for heat loss in cold temperatures," Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said in a hospital news release. "In the cold weather, it's important to keep your head, face and nose covered, but most importantly dress in layers to prevent heat loss," he added. Glatter also advised wearing "sturdy, insulated boots with thick wool socks which keep your feet and toes warm in the cold temperatures – especially while shoveling snow." It only takes 15 ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Cold Symptoms, Sore Throat, Avian Influenza, Influenza A, Influenza with Pneumonia

Try Home Remedies for Child's Cough or Cold

Posted 6 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 5, 2016 – Instead of turning to over-the-counter cough and cold remedies, parents should consider treating their children with home remedies, says a leading group of U.S. pediatricians. Like all medications, even cold and could remedies available without a prescription can cause serious side effects in young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions. Because of the risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2008 recommended that children younger than 4 years old never be treated with over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Children between 4 and 6 years old should only take these remedies under the direction of their doctor, the academy said in a news release. But children older than 6 can safely take over-the-counter drugs if the dosage instructions on the package are followed correctly. There are safer, more convenient and less costly ways to provide ... Read more

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Get Your Flu Shot Before the Flu Is Widespread: CDC

Posted 23 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 23, 2015 – Although relatively few cases of flu have surfaced so far in the United States, health officials expect activity to pick up in the next few weeks, so everyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot should get one now. "So far, influenza activity this season has remained low," said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the influenza division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We are seeing a mix of flu strains, but activity is still low, so it's a great time to go out and get vaccinated if you haven't yet," she said. This year's slow start to the flu season isn't unusual, Brammer said. "It feels a bit unusual because the last three years were early years, but this is sort of typical," she explained. "The majority of flu seasons peak in February." Brammer expects flu activity to pick up in the next few weeks. "It's possible that this year's flu ... Read more

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