Vaccinations

Vaccinations Articles

Will there be a COVID-19 vaccine?

There are many different ways to produce a vaccine. All are being tried simultaneously in the effort to fight COVID-19. Vaccines typically include a killed or weakened virus, or a protein from the virus. When the vaccine enters the body, the immune system "sees" and remembers it. Then, if the real virus enters the body later in life, the primed immune system attacks and eradicates it. Growing the large amounts of virus needed for a vaccine, or making the virus’s proteins in a laboratory, takes a lot of time and money. So, faster and cheaper approaches have been developed. (Locked) More »

Can supplements help boost your immune system?

There’s no evidence that products that claim to boost or support immune function actually do so. In fact, a wholesale boost to the immune system could lead to autoimmune or autoinflammatory conditions. To protect health, adopt good health habits such as cleaning your hands frequently, reducing stress, getting vaccinated when possible, and maintaining a healthy diet. More »

Are there any new vaccines?

Thanks to an apprentice surgeon in the mid-18th century who found a way to prevent smallpox, we have vaccines to help protect us against disease. And scientists continue to look for new vaccines and new ways to deliver them. For example, some researchers are developing skin patches and inhaled aerosols to deliver vaccines, and genetically engineering plants to make vaccines. Work is also under way on vaccines that reduce the damage done by infections people already have, and vaccines against some non-infectious illnesses, such as certain cancers and high blood pressure. (Locked) More »

Did you get your flu shot yet?

An annual flu vaccine is especially important for people who have or are at risk for heart disease. Growing evidence links influenza infections with both heart attack and heart failure. Having a serious infection can put stress on the heart, increasing its need for oxygen. Coughing and congestion can make breathing more difficult. Like all infections, influenza kicks the immune system into gear. The resulting outpouring of inflammatory molecules may make blood more likely to form clots and irritate the cells lining blood vessels,  changes that could boost the risk of a heart attack. (Locked) More »

Is shingles contagious?

Someone who has shingles can give other people chickenpox if they haven’t been exposed to the virus in the past and haven’t been vaccinated against it. (Locked) More »

Should you get vaccinated against these germs?

When getting a flu shot, it’s a good time to ask one’s doctor about the potential need for other vaccinations. Most older adults are candidates for the shingles, pneumococcal, and hepatitis A vaccines. People born in or after 1957 may need a measles vaccine booster if they received only one shot of measles vaccine when they were younger. These people could still be susceptible to measles, particularly if they’re living in a region in which there is a measles outbreak. (Locked) More »

Bracing for flu season: Steps to protect yourself right now

Flu shots are not guaranteed to keep someone from getting influenza. Sometimes the shot is not a good match for the viruses that cause epidemics. Still, older adults should get the trivalent or quadrivalent flu shot, especially people who have diabetes or heart, lung, or kidney disease, or who take medication that suppresses the immune system. Other anti-flu precautions include washing hands often (with soap and warm water or hand sanitizer if soap is unavailable), and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. (Locked) More »