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Related terms: Flu Prevention

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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Congressional Group Gives Bipartisan Support to Vaccine Safety

Posted 21 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2017 – A group of six high-ranking U.S. Senators and House members from both sides of the aisle issued a statement Tuesday supporting the safety and effectiveness of FDA-approved vaccines. The statement comes after reports that President Donald Trump has shown some support for the widely discredited "anti-vaxxer" movement. In early January, Robert Kennedy Jr., a vocal opponent of routine childhood vaccinations, said that Trump had asked him to head a new commission on vaccine safety. Various medical organizations expressed alarm at the time. However, the six Congressional leaders who penned the statement Tuesday said the debate over the safety of vaccines has long been over. They include Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ranking ... 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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U.S. Vaccine Guidelines for Flu, HPV Updated

Posted 7 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2017 – Roll up your sleeves, America. A national advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its 2017 advisory for recommended shots affecting adults. This year's advisory revises guidance on seasonal flu shots by eliminating nasal flu vaccines and modifying flu-shot advice for people with egg allergy. It also tweaks recommendations for vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and meningococcal disease. Doctors use the annually updated vaccine schedule to ensure that patients receive the right vaccines for their age, medical condition and other risk factors. The entire list includes 13 vaccinations. "All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious disease that could result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family," said the report's lead ... Read more

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U.S. Teens Lag on Recommended Vaccinations

Posted 6 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 6, 2017 – Teens are less likely than younger children to get all their recommended vaccinations, perhaps putting their long-term health at risk, according to a leading group of U.S. pediatricians. Teens' rates of vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) and the flu are well below the target of 80 percent or higher, according to two reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). "We often find that teenagers don't visit their doctors as regularly as they did when they were younger, and they may be late or even miss important immunizations recommended to keep them healthy," Dr. Joseph Bocchini Jr. said in an academy news release. Bocchini is co-author of the reports and former chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. The immunization rates vary considerably by vaccine and by state, the pediatricians' group found. In 2014, only 40 percent of girls and ... Read more

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Flu Shot May Curb Respiratory Infections in People With Heart Failure

Posted 2 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 – Flu and pneumonia vaccines may reduce heart failure patients' risk of dangerous respiratory infections, a new review suggests. More than 5 million Americans have heart failure, when the heart is too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Respiratory infections are the leading cause of hospitalization for people with heart failure. These infections are associated with high death rates in a hospital, the review authors said. The researchers reviewed studies published from January 1990 to July 2016. These studies suggested that flu and pneumonia vaccines seem to help protect people with heart failure from life-threatening respiratory infections. People older than 65 with heart failure may benefit more from high-dose vaccination, the researchers said. "Vaccination represents a low-cost intervention that may be able to prevent the significant disease, ... 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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Best Ways to Steer Clear of the Flu

Posted 22 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Jan. 21, 2017 – The best way for people to protect themselves from the flu is to get vaccinated – and it's not too late to get a shot, an infectious diseases expert says. The flu vaccine also protects those who aren't able to get it, including infants younger than 6 months and people with certain allergies and medical conditions, said Dr. Jeffrey Kahn. He is chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Those who think it's too late to get vaccinated should reconsider since flu season lasts until spring, Kahn said in a medical center news release. UT Southwestern outlines other ways people can reduce their risk of getting the flu: Keep your hands clean. Be sure to wash your hands well and often. If soap and water aren't readily available, opt for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It's also important to be aware of what you touch, ... 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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Flu Tightens Its Hold on the Nation

Posted 13 Jan 2017 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 11 Jan 2017 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 6 Jan 2017 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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