flu vaccine

During flu season, I write a lot of articles promoting the flu vaccine. Why? Because it is the best way to avoid getting the flu. 

I also talk to a lot of people about the flu vaccine and why they are (or are not) getting one. Inevitably, I hear that the flu vaccine is "terrible this year" or "doesn't even work." And, although that is not true, the flu vaccine certainly could be better. 

Vaccines kick-start the body to make protective antibodies specific to the bacteria or virus of choice. For example, the MMR vaccine tells the body to make antibodies to measles, mumps and rubella and the flu vaccine tells the body to make antibodies against the flu. 

These protective antibodies are of the IgG class of antibodies. There are five major classes of antibodies, IgA,...

I have had the flu for two weeks. Well, to be honest, I never did get the test to confirm that it was, indeed, the flu. But, I am ok self-diagnosing this one based on the high fever, aches, chills, headache, sore throat, and barking cough. Rapid flu test or not, I'm going to call flu on this one. 

Did I get the flu shot? Yes. 

Was it worth it even though I ended up with the flu? Yes. 

I knew that having my family get their flu shots would not insure that we would skip flu season completely. That is simply too high of an expectation for an infectious disease that spreads as effectively as the flu in a society where people opt out of the vaccine. On top of that, we happen to live in a city packed with people in a season where we spend most of our time inside - near...

It's that time of year again - time to get the flu shot. In case you are wondering when is the best time to get your flu shot, please read here

Every year, the medical community emphasizes the importance of getting the flu vaccine. And, every year the same excuses pop up as to why people are not going to do it. But, the one excuse that I simply cannot hear anymore is that the flu shot will give someone the flu. 

This one drives me crazy because it is simply not possible. Let me explain why. 

In order to make an effective flu vaccine, what has to be put into the body is the piece of the influenza virus that the immune system recognizes - this is called the antigen...

The media has been having a field day with a recently published paper. That's not atypical when a scientific paper has a splashy result. Big scientific discoveries deserve a lot of attention. 

The problem is that this paper is not a big scientific discovery. In fact, it is somewhat surprising that it was published in the journal that it was (Vaccine) - let alone be written up in major newspapers. 

The headlines say that the paper shows a link between pregnant women receiving the flu vaccine in the first trimester and miscarriages. Regardless of the quality of the science, this will almost certainly result in two things. The first is that pregnant women will second guess getting their flu vaccine - and potentially other vaccines as well. The second is that the anti-vaxx ...

shutterstock_389013259 "If I Don't Look, It Won't Hurt" courtesy of Shutterstock

Many parents blanch at the thought of taking their kids to the doctor for vaccinations. No matter how much you explain the necessity for that pinprick, it's hard to overcome the fear of pain (which makes the whole experience worse). So when the first nasal spray flu vaccine became available in 2003, it was well received.

Unfortunately, that option is no longer available. At least for now. An advisory committee from the CDC just recommended that the spray should...

shutterstock_154217945 Young Infant via Shutterstock

Babies can't be immunized against influenza until they're around 6 months old, so it's important that their mothers get vaccinated during pregnancy so that they can pass their antibodies to the babies before birth. A recent study confirms the...

As we enter flu season, both cases of it and discussion about vaccines spike upward. Though a lot of media attention is now devoted to anti-vaccine hotbeds like California and Oregon, casual uptake (or refusal) of the influenza vaccine is far less mentioned -- and far more prevalent across geographic and cultural regions. Honestly, not taking a flu vaccine will put a lot more people at risk than measles will.

At the American Council on Science and Health, we have obviously discussed both a lot, and we understand it's fair to be skeptical when it is known that last...

894326_54591782An updated report from the CDC said that as of February 28th, influenza activity continued to decrease, but remained at elevated across the United States. Their latest report showed that flu activity has been at elevated levels for 15 consecutive weeks. The average length of a flu season is 13 weeks. This year s relatively long flu season is largely due to its early start, and also because the season s flu vaccine is having a bad year.


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