Recurrent Breast Cancer

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Get With the Flu Vaccine Program                                                         

Compared to last year, there’s an increase in the number of people who have influenza.
The current flu vaccine is about sixty two percent effective in preventing flu. On the other hand, about thirty eight percent of Americans who get the vaccine could get sick with the flu.
An increase in flu cases caused a wave of people flooding hospitals in the North East. The Boston mayor declared a public health emergency on January ninth.
Deaths due to flu in one hundred twenty two “benchmark cities” rose to seven percent on January fifth.

Good news.  The number of states reporting high levels of “ILI” (influenza like illness) decreased from twenty nine to twenty four. There were fewer people with flu-like symptoms visiting doctors’ offices during December.
 Let’s review misconceptions and rumors about flu vaccine.
The flu is annoying but harmless. Flu symptoms include congestion, cough, muscle ache, and fever. Seasonal flu hospitalizes two hundred thousand people in the U.S.. It kills up to forty nine thousand people every year.

Swine flu is transmitted by pork. You can’t get the flu by eating pork. 

Flu vaccine can give you the flu. Injectable flu vaccine includes components of dead flu virus. “Flu Mist,” the inhaled the version, includes inactivated (not functional) virus. 

There is no treatment for the flu. Tamiflu, a pill, and Relenza, an inhaled mist, prevent flu if taken within forty eight hours of symptom onset. They decrease sickness duration one to two days and decrease contagiousness.  

Antibiotics kill the flu virus. Antibiotics fight bacterial infections. They do not kill the flu virus.

Only elderly people should get flu vaccine. People over age sixty five have the greatest risk for death. However, children under two years have the highest flu-related hospitalization rates. 

If you get the flu, you can’t get it again during that flu season. Flu infection is due to two types of virus, Type A and B. This year’s vaccine covers both type A and Type B virus.

You can skip years between flu vaccinations. Every year, the vaccine flu strains change. Therefore the vaccine changes every year. The vaccine has prevented more illness and death than other remedies or non-vaccine treatments.

If you haven’t gotten the current flu vaccine by November, there’s no point getting vaccinated. Flu vaccine is still available. The greatest number of flu cases occurs February through early March. 

Questions?  Contact Dr. Clem at