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Flu Season’s Approaching So Roll Up Your Sleeve

September 28, 2012 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News

www.Medtipster.com Source: HealthDay, 9.27/12 – By Steven Reinberg

 The only thing predictable about the flu is its unpredictability, U.S. health officials said Thursday, as they urged virtually all Americans to get vaccinated for the coming season.

Even though last year’s flu season was one of the mildest on record, that’s no sign of what this season will bring. It was only two years ago, officials noted, that the H1N1 pandemic flu swept around the world, sickening millions.

“The last several years have demonstrated that influenza is predictably unpredictable,” Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said during a morning news conference.

“Even mild seasons can lead to suffering and death,” Koh added. “Sadly, last year there were some 34 influenza-associated pediatric deaths.”

Every year an estimated 5 percent to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu, leading to 200,000 hospitalizations — including 20,000 children under age 5, Koh said. And over a 30-year span, from 1976 to 2006, estimates of flu-related annual deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000.

This year’s vaccine contains the same strains as last year’s, plus two new strains — one for a new influenza A virus and another for a new influenza B, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Influenza Division, said at the news conference.

“More than 85 million doses of flu vaccine have already been distributed and more is on the way,” he said, adding that about 170 million doses are expected to be available.

“The best time to get vaccinated is before the flu season gets started,” Jernigan said. “Everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get vaccinated.”

The typical flu season runs from the fall through early spring.

Koh stressed the vaccine is safe and has only mild side effects. Because the flu is different each year, the vaccine needs to be revised to keep up with the circulating strains.

Despite the low level of flu activity in 2011-2012, about 42 percent of Americans got vaccinated, which is about the same as for the previous flu season, according to CDC records.

Among children, some 52 percent were vaccinated last year, compared with 51 percent the year before, Koh said. Vaccination rates typically drop as children get older, he noted.

For children 6 to 23 months old, almost 75 percent were vaccinated during the 2011-2012 flu season, compared to just 35 percent of teens, Koh said. “We were pleased that, for kids, for the second year in a row there were no racial or ethnic disparities in coverage,” he said.

But when it comes to adults, “there is much room for improvement,” Koh said. “Last year about 39 percent of adults were vaccinated, compared to some 41 percent the year before,” he said.

Vaccination is important for all adults, but particularly for those with conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, which can leave them susceptible to complications from flu, Koh said. “Coverage among these high-risk adults was only 45 percent last season, compared to 47 percent the season before,” he said.

While there were no racial or ethnic disparities in vaccination rates among children, disparities remained among adults, he said. Whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest vaccination rates at 42 percent, while Hispanics had the lowest rate at 29 percent, he said.

On the plus side, more pregnant women are getting vaccinated, Koh said, noting that pregnant women are at greater risk of complications from the flu. What’s more, a mother’s immunity can protect her newborn for the six months before the child is old enough to be vaccinated.

Koh also reported that last year 67 percent of health-care personnel were vaccinated, but there were major differences among workers in this group. For example, 87 percent of doctors working in hospitals were vaccinated. But in nursing homes, other than doctors and nurses, the vaccine coverage rate was 50 percent. “This is worrisome because these people care for people at high risk for complications from flu,” he said.

Getting vaccinated is the best protection from the flu, Koh said. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot every year. Last season’s vaccination campaign prevented almost 5 million cases of the flu, 2 million doctor’s visits and 40,000 hospitalizations, according to CDC estimates.

More information

To learn more about the flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Sept. 27, 2012, news conference with Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., assistant secretary for health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Daniel Jernigan, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director, Influenza Division, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Flu Shots May Lower Odds For Premature Delivery

June 01, 2011 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News

www.Medtipster.com Source: HealthDay News -By Jennifer Goodwin, 5.31.2011

Getting a flu shot during pregnancy appears to offer some protection from premature births and low birth weight babies, a new study finds.

U.S. researchers looked at data on nearly 4,200 births between June 2004 and September 2006 in the state of Georgia. About 15 percent of the women received a flu shot during pregnancy.

Pregnant women who received the vaccine and who gave birth during the assumed flu season (from October through May) were 40 percent less likely to have a baby born prematurely, that is, before 37 weeks’ gestation, the study found.

“The effect is significant during the flu period, and it goes up along with the intensity of flu circulation,” said lead study author Saad B. Omer, an assistant professor of global health, epidemiology and pediatrics at Emory University Schools of Public Health & Medicine.

Women who gave birth when there were some, but not widespread, reports of flu were 56 percent less likely to have a premature baby than unvaccinated women. During peak flu season, generally January and February, pregnant women who got the flu shot were 72 percent less likely to deliver prematurely.

The study, published May 31 in PLoS Medicine, also found a slight association between flu vaccine and protection from “small for gestational age” babies (a birth weight, head circumference or length in the bottom 9 percent) during peak flu season, but not at other times.

Babies born during peak flu season to mothers who were vaccinated against flu were 69 percent less likely to be small for their gestational age, the researchers found.

Outside flu season, researchers said the study found no association between premature births and flu vaccination. This was expected and lends support to their hypothesis that the effect they’re seeing is actually due to the flu vaccine and not some other factor.

However, they emphasized that their findings merely show an “association” between the vaccine and reduced risk of prematurity, not a direct cause and effect.

Infections during pregnancy can affect fetal growth and development, according to background information in the article. Respiratory infections, particularly pneumonia, are associated with low birth weight and increased risk of pre-term birth.

Influenza is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, who have a greater risk of serious illness and death. “There is a lot of evidence that flu is much more severe in pregnant women than in women of a similar age who are not pregnant,” Saad said.

Toward the end of pregnancy, women’s lung capacity decreases, and the heart must work harder to pump blood to support the fetus, which taxes the body. Pregnancy may also make it more difficult for the immune system to mount a response to the flu.

Prior research conducted in women in Bangladesh found that getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy can even help protect the infant from flu after birth.

Taken together, the evidence is clear that women who are pregnant during flu season should get the flu vaccine, said Dr. Siobhan Dolan, a consultant to the March of Dimes and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“This study adds to the body of evidence of how beneficial the flu vaccine is, both in decreasing the risk of pre-term birth and slightly decreasing the risk of low birth weight,” Dolan said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians and the March of Dimes all recommend women get vaccinated against the flu during pregnancy.

Despite that recommendation, only about 15 percent of pregnant women get the seasonal flu vaccine annually, experts said, although that rose to nearly 50 percent during the 2009-2010 H1N1 crisis.

“It’s good for you, and it’s good for your baby,” Dolan added. “It’s the right thing to do, and the data is clear.”

We Apologize for the Inconvenience

November 03, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

flushotscancelled Pharmacies cancel seasonal flu shots due to the demand for H1N1 vaccine.

When I saw this picture, I immediately thought, “wow, how frustrating for the people who showed up to get a flu shot only to read this sign in disappointment.” Then I sat down to begin blogging about it, and had nothing but writer’s block, or so I thought.

Nope, I don’t have writer’s block. This picture is worth a thousand words!

I have a continuous search running on my twitter tweetdeck for H1N1 and every minute of every day, at least one new tweet mentions H1N1. Everyone is seriously concerned about swine flu! What is most important is preventing it and treating it by knowing when and where the vaccine is available, and where to go for treatment if you have symptoms.

And I just want to shout it from the rooftops! Medtipster.com has this information available! It’s there, I promise! You won’t have to drive around looking and hoping to find the flu shot somewhere. We know what pharmacies have the seasonal flu shot AND the H1N1 vaccine. We know supplies are limited, we know the country is in a panic, we know the frustration people are feeling. Medtipster.com was designed to help!

Medtipster.com is the trusted source for the latest information this flu season! Share this with your friends, your family, your co-workers, your dog walker, even your enemies, whom perhaps would be happy to give you their swine flu!

Avoid the inconvenience, the apologies, and most of all, the headache. Stay informed with www.medtipster.com.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

Five Million, Six Hundred Fifty Six Thousand – But, Who’s Counting?

October 30, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

Tylar Masters

Tylar Masters

The actual number of confirmed cases of swine flu could be nearly 140 times greater than originally reported.

The swine flu has everyone talking, and everyone concerned in one way or another. It’s a topic we hear about daily in the news. The shortage of the H1N1 vaccine has sent millions into a panic, especially those with young children or caretakers of elders, who are at the highest risk.

The number of laboratory confirmed cases from April 2009 to July 2009 is approximately 44,000 in the United States alone. But what if that number is completely inaccurate? How would that effect the supply of the H1N1 vaccine now that flu season is here and we’ve entered into the “fall swing” of the swine flu? Answer: Tremendously.

The truth is that the estimate could be off just a little. Like 5,656,000, but who’s counting? Well, every single concerned American for one! According to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Harvard School of Public Health, the actual number of infected individuals in the United States is between 1.8 million and 5.7 million. That’s up to 140 times greater than the earlier reported 44,000 infected Americans.

The CDC and Harvard suggest that “health systems and infrastructure may be unprepared in the short-term if plans are based on a number of confirmed cases.” That being said, knowing the true number of confirmed cases seems like a high priority.

Resources: Bloomberg, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard School of Public Health

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

CVS/pharmacy Celebrates Grand Opening of its 7,000th Store

September 25, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser CVS/pharmacy opened its 7,000th store in Little Canada, Minnesota. As part of the grand opening, Larry Merlo, President of CVS/pharmacy, announced details of a CVS plan to offer $75,000 worth of free seasonal flu shots to the unemployed in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The effort is part of CVS Caremark’s nationwide campaign to provide $3 million in free flu shots to unemployed Americans across the country. The 2,500 vouchers for free seasonal flu shots will be distributed in collaboration with Minnesota’s DEED beginning in October in an effort to keep this at-risk population healthy this flu season.

Find this CVS location and one closest to you by using medtipster.com

Kroger Offers Flu Shots At Their 1,900+ In-Store Phamacies

September 18, 2009 By: Nadia Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

The Kroger Companys Family of Pharmacies is making it easy and affordable for customers to take steps to keep themselves and their families healthy by getting seasonal flu immunizations early.

This year, Krogers more than 1,900 in-store pharmacies will again offer convenient access to seasonal flu vaccines at an affordable price. Flu vaccines will be administered by Krogers own Certified Immunizing Pharmacists for $25 per vaccine. During the 2008-2009 flu season, the Kroger Family of Pharmacies administered nearly 1 million flu vaccinations.

Find your nearest Kroger Pharmacy by using medtipster.com

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