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Enhanced flu vaccine suggested for older adults
Influenza vaccines that contain higher doses and extra ingredients (adjuvants) to boost their effectiveness can provide better protection than the standard flu vaccine for adults ages 65 and older, according to the CDC, and are recommended for the upcoming flu season.
More protection for your heart? It’s just a shot away
A yearly influenza vaccine may help lower the risk of serious cardiovascular complications, especially among people who’ve had a recent heart attack. Pneumonia and shingles vaccines also help reduce heart attack and stroke risks. Early fall is a good time to get back on track with these vaccines. Several different types of flu shots are available; experts advise getting whichever one is most readily available. For those ages 65 and older who have a choice, three vaccines (Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublock Quadrivalent recombinant, and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted) may offer slightly better protection than the regular-dose shot and are the preferred choice.
Fall vaccination roundup
Because aging makes it harder to fight off infections, it’s especially important for people to stay up to date on vaccinations as they get older. Important vaccinations include those that ward off COVID-19; tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis; shingles; and pneumococcal diseases. Flu vaccinations are also important and are needed yearly. There are a few different types of flu shots. Doctors advise getting whatever flu vaccine is readily available. If there’s a choice, the latest recommendation in 2022 for people 65 or older is to have the high-dose flu shot rather than the regular-dose version.
What does the flu have to do with the heart?
For some people, the effects of the influenza (flu) virus can lead to a heart attack or cardiac arrest (sudden death). These people typically have reduced blood flow to the heart due to atherosclerosis (narrowed arteries). Because the flu can cause blood oxygen levels to drop to dangerously low levels, it can further reduce the supply of oxygen to the heart, causing a heart attack or cardiac arrest. Fortunately, getting an annual flu shot is associated with reduced risks of a heart attack and related cardiac events.
Poliovirus in wastewater: Should we be concerned?
Thanks to vaccination, the US has been polio-free since 1979, and the spread of this disease has been interrupted in most countries. But worldwide eradication of polio has been elusive, and traces of the virus were recently found in wastewater in London.
Answers to questions about long COVID
A troubling aspect of COVID infection is long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, or PASC. PASC is marked by persistent symptoms 30 days or more after a person tests positive for COVID. Also, symptoms suggestive of PASC may emerge many weeks after recovery from the initial infection. Scientists are still learning about PASC, but they have discovered much so far, such as who may be at higher risk, what symptoms are common, how long it may last, and what people can do to protect themselves.
Year three of the pandemic is underway: Now what?
Despite how it may sometimes seem, the COVID-19 pandemic is very much still with us. This is a good time to pause and assess where we are now and what you need to know about vaccines, boosters, and other measures to help you stay well.
Answers to common questions about shingles
Shingles is a painful condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus. People typically encounter this virus, which causes chickenpox, in childhood. The virus stays dormant in the body, sometimes for decades, and may re-emerge as shingles. The best way to prevent shingles is by getting vaccinated. People should get the vaccine even if they’ve had shingles in the past, because it is possible to get shingles more than once. Maintaining healthy habits, such as eating right, getting enough sleep, and managing stress, may also help to prevent shingles by keeping the immune system working well.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect menstruation?
A study found that women who were vaccinated against COVID-19 experienced a slight, temporary increase in the number of days between menstrual periods after getting the shot. Experts say the variation is not harmful and does not affect fertility.
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