Vaccinations

Vaccinations Articles

Fall vaccination roundup

Vaccines are the best protection people have when it comes to certain illnesses. Older adults should get a flu shot every year, and should talk to their doctors about whether to get vaccines for pneumonia, tetanus, and shingles. Doctors say it doesn’t matter where one gets vaccines, whether it’s a doctor’s office or drugstore, as long as it’s a registered site, and the product is standard FDA-approved. The CDC recommends that people get flu shots as soon as they become available each year, even before October. (Locked) More »

Flu vaccination: Win some, lose some

Annual vaccination lowers the risk of flu infection but is more effective in some years than others because it is not always possible to predict exactly which strains of the virus are most prevalent. Despite varying results, vaccination is strongly recommended for people with health problems that put them at higher risk of severe flu complications like pneumonia. People at high risk are also urged to take an antiviral medication as soon as they start to feel flu symptoms. Starting on drugs early suppresses the virus before it has a chance to trigger more serious health problems. (Locked) More »

2015 Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the updated 2015 immunization schedule for children and adolescents. The recommendations appear in the February 2015 issue of Pediatrics. You can read them on the CDC website. While there are no changes this year, these schedules can be confusing. So it's a good time to review the various immunizations we recommend children get from birth through 18 years of age. It's also a good time to encourage parents to follow the schedule. It's the best way to protect children from infectious diseases, including measles and influenza. There have been recent outbreaks of both diseases. (Locked) More »

Heart attack risk rises after a bout of pneumonia

Older people hospitalized for pneumonia face four times their usual risk of having a heart attack or stroke or dying of heart disease in the month following the illness. The elevated risk declines over time. The body’s response to infection puts added stress on the heart and blood vessels, making a person more vulnerable to cardiovascular problems. The findings underscore the importance of following vaccination guidelines to avoid both pneumonia and influenza, which can cause pneumonia. More »

Tetanus

Tetanus is an illness caused by infection with the bacterium Clostridium tetani. These bacteria live in soil. When they get into the human body, they make a toxin that damages the nervous system. Symptoms of tetanus start to appear between 5 and 15 days after the bacteria get into the body. First there are mild spasms and then rigidity of the muscles of the jaw (lockjaw), neck, and face, along with difficulty swallowing or speaking. Soon after, the chest, back, and abdominal muscles become rigid. This can interfere with breathing and threaten life, especially in children and older adults. Powerful and painful seizures then occur. People with tetanus must be hospitalized. Treatment begins with an injection to neutralize the tetanus toxin. Intravenous penicillin is used to fight the infection. Removal of infected tissue may also be necessary. Muscle relaxants (to reduce spasms) and sedation may be needed. Some people with tetanus must be put on a ventilator to help them breathe. More »

Influenza

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus. The flu virus enters your body when you breathe in air containing infected droplets, usually generated by someone else's coughing or sneezing. Outbreaks occur nearly every winter, and vary in severity depending on that year's strain of the influenza virus. If you are like most people, you have had the flu at some point in your life. You may have felt awful for a week or so, but you got over it. Some people, though, develop serious complications such as pneumonia. Some even die from the flu. Those most at risk for complications include infants, people over age 60, and those with heart disease, lung disease, or chronic diseases that weaken the immune system, such as diabetes. The influenza virus can cause severe pneumonia. It can also weaken the lungs, allowing harmful bacteria to take over and cause bacterial pneumonia. This can happen even to healthy young adults. More »