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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.”

Flu shot in the mail? Microneedles may make that possible, or just buy it at a drug store

July 19, 2010 By: Nadia Category: H1N1 News, HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News

www.Medtipster.com Source: Associated Press (AP) – by RANDOLPH E. SCHMID – 7.18.2010

WASHINGTON (AP) – One day your annual flu shot could come in the mail.

At least that’s the hope of researchers developing a new method of vaccine delivery that people could even use at home: a patch with microneedles.

Microneedles?

That’s right, tiny little needles so small you don’t even feel them. Attached to a patch like a Band-Aid, the little needles barely penetrate the skin before they dissolve and release their vaccine.

Researchers led by Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Institute of Technology reported their research on microneedles in Sunday’s edition of Nature Medicine.

The business side of the patch feels like fine sandpaper, he said. In tests of microneedles without vaccine, people rated the discomfort at one-tenth to one-twentieth that of getting a standard injection, he said. Nearly everyone said it was painless.

Some medications are already delivered by patches, such as nicotine patches for people trying to quit smoking. That’s simply absorbed through the skin. But attempts to develop patches with the flu vaccine absorbed through the skin have not been successful so far.

In the Georgia Tech work, the vaccine is still injected. But the needles are so small that they don’t hurt and it doesn’t take any special training to use this kind of patch.

So two problems are solved right away — fear of needles, and disposal of leftover hypodermic needles.

“The goal has been a means to administer the vaccine that is patient friendly,” Mark R. Prausnitz of Georgia Tech said in a telephone interview.

That means “not only not hurting or looking scary, but that patients could self-administer,” he said, and people would be more likely to get the flu vaccine.

By developing needles that dissolve, there are no leftover sharp needles, especially important for people who might give themselves the vaccine at home, he said.

The patch, which has been tested on mice, was developed in collaboration by researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Prausnitz said. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers are now seeking funds to begin tests in people and, if all goes well, the patch could be in use in five years, he said.

Flu vaccination is recommended for nearly everyone, every year, and that’s a big burden on the public health network, Prausnitz noted. Many people don’t get the shot because it’s inconvenient, but if they could get in mail or at the pharmacy they might do so, he said.

The patch is placed on the skin and left for 5 minutes to 15 minutes, he said. It can remain longer without doing any damage, he said. In tests on mice, the miocroneedles delivered a correct dose of the flu vaccine.

The little needles are 650 microns (three-hundredths of an inch) in length and there are 100 on the patch used in the mouse study.

Asked if the term “microneedle” might still frighten some folks averse to shots, Prausnitz said he was confident that marketers would come up with a better term before any sales began.

GlaxoSmithKline Requests A Temporary Halt On New Flu Vaccinations in Canada

November 23, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

GlaxoSmithKline is suspending the use of 170,000 doses of its new H1N1 influenza vaccine in Canada. This is due to a higher-than-usual rate of reported side effects potentially linked to the vaccine.

Potential side effects were rooted from allergic reactions suffered by six people that experienced breathing difficulties and reduced blood pressure in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Side effects are very common for any medication, with a typical ratio of 1.5 : 170,000. It has been reported that all six recovered after a short time.

Flu Shots in the United States are unaffected and are still highly recommended by the AMA and CDC.

Find a flu shot closest to your home at medtipster.com.

Short on Vaccine, Tall on Profit?

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

blackout03

Satellite Image of the Blackout of 2003

Will shortages of seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines cause cost increase?

The State of Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wrote inquiries to 13 different manufacturers of the seasonal flu vaccine, in an effort to ensure the price of these immunizations are staying at the national average price. His office has received complaints that suspect previously negotiated agreements between manufacturers of the vaccine have been reneged, causing clinics and pharmacies to stop offering shots, increase the price, or altogether close doors to consumers.

In my last blog, I showed you a picture of a large retail chain’s pharmacy posting of an 8.5” by 11” white sheet of paper with a typed notice, “FLU SHOTS CANCELLED.” Is this an indication that manufacturers and suppliers are going to pull a “black-out” on us? Remember August 13, 2003 when most northeast and midwest states were powerless for hours and, in some cases, days? Remember what happened at gas stations? In Michigan, we saw lines of cars stretching for a half mile from gas stations to fill up on gas for over $5.00 a gallon!

Will flu shot prices double or triple at some pharmacies? Think about this: a neighborhood pharmacy in a small town knows the vaccine is limited, and there is an easy way to double or perhaps triple a profit. Will they do that to their customers? Will you know if these prices are standard in comparison to the other chain pharmacies, like CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, or Target?

Price comparing on vaccinations is not as easy as price comparing a new washer and dryer from Sears. You won’t get Progressive Car Insurance’s “price comparison” leader board when you walk through your pharmacy’s door. You can’t place a bid on EBay for your healthcare. And definitely don’t expect to see William Shatner, aka “priceline negotiator,” standing in your hallway ready to break out the best deal for you on your healthcare, vaccinations or prescriptions! He’s just good for deals on vacations, you know, since we can all afford* to take one!

Medtipster.com is the only website specifically designed to locate these vaccinations for you, at the lowest cost available, in your neighborhood. Don’t spend hours calling pharmacies, searching online or driving around when www.medtipster.com has the information you need.

*Sarcasm.

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

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

Walgreens Administers 1 Million Flu Shots in Two Weeks

September 17, 2009 By: Nadia Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

Nadia - your personal pharmacy cost adviserSince it first began administering flu shots only 2 weeks ago, Walgreens has immunized 1 million customers, almost as many as the 1.2 million customers immunized in all of 2008.

Walgreens will also be offering, from 9 tour buses, $1 million worth of flu shot vouchers to uninsured adults, which usually cost $24.99.

Find your nearest Walgreens by using medtipster.com

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