flu vaccine

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A new Illinois statute aims to boost flu shot rates among healthcare workers by making it harder for employees to decline the vaccine.

Lawmakers say this is important in light of last year’s flu season that killed more people than car crashes and drug overdoses. But some on the frontlines of public health worry that a law that’s not enforced will have little effect.

Worried About The Flu Shot? Let's Separate Fact From Fiction

Nov 25, 2015

Every year before influenza itself arrives to circulate, misinformation and misconceptions about the flu vaccine begin circulating. Some of these contain a grain of truth but end up distorted, like a whispered secret in the Telephone game.

But if you're looking for an excuse not to get the flu vaccine, last year's numbers of its effectiveness would seem a convincing argument on their own. By all measures, last season's flu vaccine flopped, clocking in at about 23 percent effectiveness in preventing lab-confirmed influenza infections.

Why Your Future Vaccination Might Not Be A Shot

May 4, 2015

Vaccines don't always make it into the people who need them the most. Many require a syringe and a needle to enter the bloodstream and create immunity. And that means a doctor or nurse has to do the job.

As expected, this year's flu vaccine looks like it's pretty much of a dud.

The vaccine only appears to cut the chances that someone will end up sick with the flu by 23 percent, according to the first estimate of the vaccine's effectiveness by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Young children are especially susceptible to the seasonal flu, and annual flu immunizations are the best way to protect them.

But many children under 9 require two doses of the vaccine to be fully protected, and only about half of those who need two doses get both. That's in addition to the one-third of children in the United States who don't get flu immunizations at all.

What'll it take to drive those numbers up? Simply texting parents a few reminders may help.

Remember back in October when I debunked 32 myths about the flu vaccine here?

Research published since then suggests my efforts might have been in vain, at least in part.

The post might have changed some minds, but it seems unlikely to have led legions of people to race to get vaccinated.

Don't Forget Flu

Nov 14, 2014

Ebola virus has captured the attention of the world since the outbreak in West Africa began months ago, so far claiming nearly 5,000 lives.

Closer to home, seasonal influenza is on its way, bringing brief misery to some people but serious complications or even death to tens of thousands of people in the United States each year.

The symptoms of the flu are familiar: fever, chills, cough, congestion, feeling very, very tired. If you're a healthy adult under 65, you'll most likely recover in a week or two.

But for those older than 65, things can get worse fast, says Dr. H. Keipp Talbot, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.

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"All the talk about Ebola and Enterovirus 68 has led public health officials ramp up their urging that we all get a flu shot. After all, it's a lot more likely that most of us are going to be exposed to flu in the next few months. And now a new study suggests there's now a new reason to protect yourself. Sound Medicine's Healthy Living Expert Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber joins me to explain."

Brace yourselves: Flu season is coming. And along with the coughing, fevers and aches, you can expect a lot of unreliable or downright wrong information about the flu vaccine.

Many people underestimate the health risks from flu. Thousands of Americans die from flu-related complications in a typical year, and last season's H1N1 strain hit young adults particularly hard.