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Health Tip: Flu Shot 101

Posted 6 hours ago by Drugs.com

-- Every winter, many Americans become sick with the flu. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get the flu shot each year, particularly people with weakened immune systems and those at increased risk for flu's complications. The flu vaccine may reduce your likelihood of getting the flu, and reduce trips to the doctor's office and missed school or work. It takes up to two weeks for the flu shot to become effective, so you should get the shot before flu season is in full swing. The flu shot is suggested for pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. But it isn't recommended for babies younger than 6 months, or for people who are allergic to any of the shot's components. Read more

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Anti-Vaxxers More Likely To Vent On Twitter

Posted 7 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 9, 2017 – American parents who oppose childhood vaccines often take to Twitter to vent, share and seek reinforcement for the widely disproven notion that these shots can trigger autism, new research shows. But the phenomenon is unevenly spread, the researchers noted, with states such as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania leading the pack when it comes to the highest prevalence of Twitter-based vaccine-bashing. The findings stem from the sifting of roughly 550,000 tweets posted between 2009 and 2015. All of the tweets contained at least one reference to both autism and vaccines, and about half were found to express anti-vaccine sentiments. "Unfortunately, these results were not terribly unexpected," said study author Theodore Tomeny. Why? Tomeny suggested "that sites primarily based on user-generated information, like Twitter, may be popular ... Read more

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Flu Shot Key for People With Diabetes

Posted 8 days ago by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, Oct. 8, 2017 – With predictions calling for a potentially bad flu season this year, doctors are urging people – particularly those with diabetes – to get vaccinated. Many people with diabetes don't get a seasonal flu shot each year, according to the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). Some people with the blood sugar disease don't realize they're at risk for flu-related complications. Others have misguided fears that the shot will trigger an adverse reaction, the group explained. However, people with diabetes are more likely to develop serious flu-related health problems if they get the virus, the AADE cautioned. The group said the flu shot is a safe and effective way to prevent or reduce the severity of these complications. "Reducing risks is one of the AADE's seven key self-care behaviors for managing diabetes, and getting the flu shot every fall is an ... Read more

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No Drop in Flu Vaccinations Since Nasal Spray Withdrawn

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 6, 2017 – Discontinuation of the pain-free nasal spray flu vaccine hasn't led to a drop in childhood influenza vaccination – at least not in Oregon. In 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee on vaccines reported that the nasal spray vaccine (FluMist) was ineffective and advised against its use. Doctors and health officials then feared that with only an injectable vaccine available, needle-shy parents might avoid getting their children vaccinated, said Steve Robison, who is with the Oregon Health Authority. However, "worry that the withdrawal of the nasal spray vaccine recommendation would lead to a large drop in influenza immunization rates for children was unfounded," said Robison, who led a study on the recommendation's aftereffects. Providers in the state immunized roughly the same number of children across the 2016-2017 ... Read more

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Scientists Learn How Flu Virus Changes So Quickly

Posted 12 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 3, 2017 – Scientists have pinpointed a mechanism that helps flu viruses mutate rapidly, which could lead to new ways to fight the flu. Because flu viruses mutate quickly, flu vaccines have to be redesigned every year. The MIT researchers found that to mutate rapidly, flu viruses use a group of proteins called chaperones in infected cells in the host (a person or animal with the flu). Blocking flu viruses from using the host cells' chaperones could help prevent the viruses from developing resistance to existing drugs and vaccines, the study authors said. "It's relatively easy to make a drug that kills a virus, or an antibody that stops a virus from propagating, but it's very hard to make one that the virus doesn't promptly escape from once you start using it," senior study author Matthew Shoulders, an associate professor of chemistry, said in an MIT news release. "Our data ... Read more

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It's Time to Get Your Flu Shot Again

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2017 – Flu season is fast approaching, and U.S. health officials are worried that this season could be a bad one. That's why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging everyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot. Why the extra concern? Australia, which experiences its flu season in summer because it's in the southern hemisphere, has been hard hit this year. And the major culprit has been the H3N2 flu strain, which is known for causing severe disease, especially among older people. And small clusters of H3N2 are already showing up in the United States, according to published reports. "We don't know what's going to happen but there's a chance we could have a season similar to Australia," Dr. Daniel Jernigan, influenza chief at the CDC, told the Associated Press. And, even when severe strains aren't circulating, flu is an illness that needs to be ... Read more

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Seqirus Receives FDA Approval of Afluria Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine) for People Five Years of Age and Older in the U.S.

Posted 25 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

Cambridge, Mass — September 14, 2017 – Seqirus announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Afluria Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine) for use in people five years of age and older, extending the company's broad portfolio of influenza vaccine offerings. Afluria Quadrivalent, which was first approved in the U.S. in August 2016 for people aged 18 and older, helps protect against two influenza A strain viruses and two B strain viruses.3,10 "Pediatric health care providers now have a new vaccine option to help protect children five years and older against influenza," said Gregg Sylvester MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Seqirus. "As the only global vaccine company solely dedicated to influenza, we are committed to providing health care professionals and their patients with the broadest range of vaccine options available." The traditional seasonal i ... Read more

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When a Cold or Flu Strikes a Family Member

Posted 21 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 – When one child gets sick, you might brace yourself for everyone getting sick. But it's possible to keep healthy family members from falling ill, too. When taking care of a sick child, handwashing is more important than ever. All healthy family members should wash frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Do this after every contact with the sick person, their room and bathroom, and any items he or she used. Handwashing is a must after: Every contact with the sick child. Changing diapers. Cleaning soiled linens or clothing. Wiping the child's nose. Forget sharing right now – this extends from food, drinking glasses and utensils to combs, brushes and clothing, including hats and scarves. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your best bet is to create a sick room within your home for the patient, away from ... Read more

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Put Flu Shot on the Back-to-School Checklist

Posted 6 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 2017 – Annual flu vaccines are appropriate for everyone aged 6 months or older, the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents. It urges parents to vaccinate their kids to reduce the risk they'll develop severe, life-threatening influenza. Flu killed more than 100 children in the United States in the 2016-2017 season, and thousands of kids were hospitalized. Unvaccinated kids are at especially high risk of death from flu, the academy says. "Getting a flu shot as soon as the vaccine is available in your community should be on every parent's checklist, along with other back-to-school routines," said Dr. Flor Munoz, co-author of new academy flu vaccine recommendations. "We know that the flu should not be taken lightly. Everyone in the household, including pregnant women, grandparents, and child care providers, should be vaccinated to help prevent its spread," Munoz ... Read more

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Nasal Flu Vaccine's Demise May Mean Fewer Immunized Kids

Posted 1 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2017 – Seasonal flu immunization rates among children appear to have dropped slightly after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against the nasal spray version of the vaccine, researchers report. But it's not just shot-avoidance that prevents people from getting the recommended vaccine. Researchers found that up to half of all Americans are fickle about the flu shot and change their minds about getting vaccinated from one year to the next. "It seems that people may not be either vehemently pro flu vaccine or anti flu vaccine," said the study's co-author, Ben Fogel. "Rather, if it's convenient, they'll get the vaccine, and if it's not convenient, they won't go out of their way to get it," said Fogel, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine. Convenience was a main selling point for the nasal spray form of the flu ... Read more

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Have Fun at the Fair, But Don't Pet the Pigs

Posted 23 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23, 2017 – You go to the fair for corn dogs and cotton candy, not an infectious swine flu. Researchers are warning that flu can spread among pigs at agricultural fairs and then make the leap to humans, which could potentially lead to a swine flu epidemic. The good news is that people can take steps to protect themselves by doing simple things, including keeping as much distance from the pigs as possible. "The ease with which viruses can pass between pigs and people and evolve into new, more concerning viruses illustrates the importance of continued monitoring of swine to detect viruses that can threaten animals and people," said Andrew Bowman. He is an assistant professor of veterinary medicine at Ohio State University. The new study looked at 18 cases of H3N2 swine flu in people in Ohio and Michigan in 2016. All were linked to agricultural fairs and exposure to pigs ... Read more

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

Posted 18 Aug 2017 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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