Tag Archives: Vaccination

Straight, No Chaser: Flu Myths and Questions

Flu season ahead
Every year 36,000 people die and over 200,000 are hospitalized each year due to the flu—in the U.S. alone. If you’re not getting a vaccine every year, you are subjecting yourself to a significantly higher risk and allowing fears and myths to get the better of you. Knowledge is power. Learn the facts.
Does the flu shot give you the flu?
No, no, no. The influenza vaccine cannot cause flu illness. There are vaccines that involve the delivery of live virus, including mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox and polio. Influenza is not in that category. Flu shots are made either with ‘inactivated’ vaccine viruses that are not infectious or they contain no flu vaccine viruses at all (and instead have recombinant particles that serve to stimulate your immune system).
The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. These symptoms are among the same symptoms you see with influenza, so it’s easy to confuse them as flu symptoms. They are not.
Controlled medical studies have been performed on humans in which some people received flu shots and others received shots containing salt water. There were no differences in symptoms other than increased redness and soreness at the injection site for those receiving influenza vaccine. The flu shot does not give you the flu.
flu-shot-myth
I swear I’ve gotten the flu right after getting the flu shot! How is that possible if I can’t get the flu from the flu shot?
I always remind people that the flu vaccine does an even better job of preventing you from dying from the flu than it does in preventing you from catching the flu (and it does that at a 70–90% rate).  It primes your immune system to better fight off the influenza virus when you’re exposed to it.
There are several reasons why someone still might get a flu-like illness after being vaccinated against the flu:

  • Influenza is just one group of respiratory viruses. There are many other viruses that cause similar symptoms including the common cold, which is also most commonly seen during “flu season.” The flu vaccine only protects against influenza, so any other infection timed correctly can give you similar symptoms.
  • When you get immunized against influenza, it takes the body up to two weeks to obtain the desired level of protection. There is nothing preventing you from having been infected before or during the period immediately before immunity sets in. Such an occurrence will result in your obtaining the flu despite being vaccinated.
  • An additional reason why some people may experience flu-like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a strain of influenza that is different from the viruses against which the vaccine is designed to protect. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the match between the viruses selected to make the vaccine and those causing illness among the population that same year.
  • It is also the case that the flu vaccine doesn’t always provide adequate protection against the flu. This is more likely to occur among people who have weakened immune systems or people age 65 and older. Even if the vaccine is 90% effect, some individuals will contact the flu despite having been vaccinated.

Please don’t get the wrong message from this section. These explanations are the exceptions, not the rule. In the overwhelming number of cases, the influenza vaccine does an excellent job of protecting against and prevent disease from the influenza virus.
Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
No. Influenza causes tens of thousands of deaths every year. If you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or are especially young or old, you are placing yourself at significant risk by not getting vaccinated. Even if you aren’t in one of the above categories and are otherwise healthy, a flu infection can cause serious complications, including hospitalization or death.

flu-vaccine-facts-myths

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone six months and older. Once vaccinated, your immune protection decreases over time. These boosters are scheduled and dosed to help you maintain the best level of protection against influenza. Additionally, the virus mutates (changes) every year, so what you were covered for this year may not apply next year.
You can make a decision not to get vaccinated, but frankly, that’s accepts a risk that you flies in the face of a reasonable risk/benefit analysis, and you would be doing so in the face of the solid consensus of medical evidence and research. You should seriously question the motives or knowledge of someone who suggests that you should not get vaccinate for influenza, particularly if they profess to be involved in healthcare. Get vaccinated.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
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Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Flu Myths and Questions

Flu season ahead
Every year 36,000 people die and over 200,000 are hospitalized each year due to the flu—in the U.S. alone. If you’re not getting a vaccine every year, you are subjecting yourself to a significantly higher risk and allowing fears and myths to get the better of you. Knowledge is power. Learn the facts.
Does the flu shot give you the flu?
No, no, no. The influenza vaccine cannot cause flu illness. There are vaccines that involve the delivery of live virus, including mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox and polio. Influenza is not in that category. Flu shots are made either with ‘inactivated’ vaccine viruses that are not infectious or they contain no flu vaccine viruses at all (and instead have recombinant particles that serve to stimulate your immune system).
The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. These symptoms are among the same symptoms you see with influenza, so it’s easy to confuse them as flu symptoms. They are not.
Controlled medical studies have been performed on humans in which some people received flu shots and others received shots containing salt water. There were no differences in symptoms other than increased redness and soreness at the injection site for those receiving influenza vaccine. The flu shot does not give you the flu.
flu-shot-myth
I swear I’ve gotten the flu right after getting the flu shot! How is that possible if I can’t get the flu from the flu shot?
I always remind people that the flu vaccine does an even better job of preventing you from dying from the flu than it does in preventing you from catching the flu (and it does that at a 70–90% rate).  It primes your immune system to better fight off the influenza virus when you’re exposed to it.
There are several reasons why someone still might get a flu-like illness after being vaccinated against the flu:

  • Influenza is just one group of respiratory viruses. There are many other viruses that cause similar symptoms including the common cold, which is also most commonly seen during “flu season.” The flu vaccine only protects against influenza, so any other infection timed correctly can give you similar symptoms.
  • When you get immunized against influenza, it takes the body up to two weeks to obtain the desired level of protection. There is nothing preventing you from having been infected before or during the period immediately before immunity sets in. Such an occurrence will result in your obtaining the flu despite being vaccinated.
  • An additional reason why some people may experience flu-like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a strain of influenza that is different from the viruses against which the vaccine is designed to protect. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the match between the viruses selected to make the vaccine and those causing illness among the population that same year.
  • It is also the case that the flu vaccine doesn’t always provide adequate protection against the flu. This is more likely to occur among people who have weakened immune systems or people age 65 and older. Even if the vaccine is 90% effect, some individuals will contact the flu despite having been vaccinated.

Please don’t get the wrong message from this section. These explanations are the exceptions, not the rule. In the overwhelming number of cases, the influenza vaccine does an excellent job of protecting against and prevent disease from the influenza virus.
Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
No. Influenza causes tens of thousands of deaths every year. If you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or are especially young or old, you are placing yourself at significant risk by not getting vaccinated. Even if you aren’t in one of the above categories and are otherwise healthy, a flu infection can cause serious complications, including hospitalization or death.

flu-vaccine-facts-myths

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone six months and older. Once vaccinated, your immune protection decreases over time. These boosters are scheduled and dosed to help you maintain the best level of protection against influenza. Additionally, the virus mutates (changes) every year, so what you were covered for this year may not apply next year.
You can make a decision not to get vaccinated, but frankly, that’s accepts a risk that you flies in the face of a reasonable risk/benefit analysis, and you would be doing so in the face of the solid consensus of medical evidence and research. You should seriously question the motives or knowledge of someone who suggests that you should not get vaccinate for influenza, particularly if they profess to be involved in healthcare. Get vaccinated.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your Questions About Measles – Could You Recognize It?

health-0326-measles-640x360

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls measles, a virus that lives in the nose and throat, the “most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses”. About 90% of those who are not immune will become infected if they come close to an infected person, according to the CDC. An estimated 20 million people worldwide contract measles each year. In the US, the CDC typically expects only 220 cases. Last year there were 644, a nearly two-decade high. Yes, this was due to a marked drop in immunization rates in certain parts of the country.
In discussing the recent measles outbreak, one of the most common responses I received was “So? What’s measles anyway?” It has been that long since measles has been a problem in the United States. Let’s talk about common questions related to measles.
What causes measles? The medical term for measles is rubeola, and it’s caused by a virus.

 measleskoplik

What are the symptoms I’d see? To the layperson, measles most often presents as a full body rash with cold/flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, cough and runny nose. Your doctor is also looking for red eyes (conjunctivitis) and small reddish spots inside the mouth (known as Koplik’s spots).
Is measles contagious? It’s highly contagious to those not immunized. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of those not immunized will contract measles if exposed to someone with it.
How is it spread? It’s spread through the air. This means sneezing, coughing and kissing.

Measles-immunization

Why don’t I ever see measles? Measles has been contained in the U.S. since the introduction of the measles vaccine over 50 years ago. It is amazing to think that there are still 20 million cases still occurring around the world annually.
How is measles prevented? Immunization! The immunization is approximately 99% effective in preventing infection in the face of exposure. Infants are generally protected from measles for 6 months after birth due to immunity passed on from their immunized mothers. For most others, the measles vaccine is part of the measles-mumps-rubella immunization (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella immunization (MMRV) given at 12 to 15 months of age and again at 4 to 6 years of age. Additional considerations exist in the face of an outbreak.

 measlesvaxsideeffx

What are the side effects of the vaccine? Unless you have an underlying health condition and/or have a reduced immunity, the most common reactions include the following:

  • fever 6-12 days after vaccination (in about 5%-15% of those vaccinated)
  • an incidental (and non-allergic, non-contagious) rash. This goes away on its own and occurs in about 5% of vaccine recipients.

What’s the treatment of measles? Given that measles is a virus, there is no specific medical treatment (as is almost always the case with viruses). Supportive treatment is important and involves fluids and rest for what is expected to be a two-week period. Something like Tylenol or children’s ibuprofen can be given for fever or pain (but never give aspirin to a child).

 measles101

What are the common complications? 30% of cases of measles involve complications. Complications include simpler conditions such as otitis media (those pesky ear infections), croup and diarrhea.
This all sounds pretty benign. Why not just get the disease and avoid the vaccination? Because children can die from measles. Unfortunately, measles also has more serious considerations such as pneumonia (which occurs in approximately 1 of 20 cases) and a serious brain infection called encephalitis (which occurs in approximately 1 of 1000) cases. Measles also causes pregnant women to have miscarriages, premature births or low-birth-weight babies.
How do people die from measles? Pneumonia is the complication most often causing death. For every 1,000 children who acquire measles, 1 or 2 will die.
What’s the Vitamin A connection with measles? Vitamin A has been found to decrease complications and death in those infected with measles. It should be considered, especially in those hospitalized with complications of measles or those who have compromised immune systems and acquire measles.
If I had measles as a child and get exposed to the disease again, am I in danger? No. Surviving a measles infection provides one with life-long immunity. Of course, your take home message is most of this isn’t a consideration if you simply get immunized.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd. Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser In the News: Measles Outbreaks and Not Getting Vaccinated

A case of measles was just confirmed in suburban Chicago. Here’s a cautionary tale to those who rely on non-medical sources to guide their health decisions. 

measlesuscases

The measles vaccine became available in 1963. Prior to then, the virus causing measles infected approximately 500,000 Americans a year. On average, this resulted in 500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations per year. Universal administration of the measles vaccine in the United States was so effective that measles was officially deemed “eliminated” – meaning there had been no sustained outbreaks in the subsequent 50 years and no homegrown outbreaks since 2000.

By now, most everyone is aware of medically-unfounded controversies related to vaccine administration. The fear-mongering and isolated reports of adverse reactions, the frequency of which fall into statistic insignificance (with all due respect to anyone actually affected), have led to a not insignificant fall in the national immunization rate. Although the premise of herd immunity is meant to shield the population from outbreaks (roughly meaning that if a certain percentage of the population is immunized, then the entire population is virtually immunized), enough people are now exposed that significant occurrences of measles are being seen. Last year, cases of measles were reported in approximately 20 states. This represents the most measles cases in 20 years. The largest outbreak occurred  in Ohio, and a large outbreak notably occurred around Disneyland (which subsequently led to cases in many states across the country).

nonmedical vaccine exemptions

Ninety percent of new cases of measles have been seen among those who have not been vaccinated.

The reasons cited by these individuals for not getting vaccinated include philosophical, religious or other personal reasons for not using vaccines. High rates of nonmedical vaccine exemptions are enough to cause an outbreak. There needs to be an exposure.

vaccine preventable outbreaks

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, the proverbial match that started the flame was exposure to infected travelers. Most notable was a cluster resulting from the Philippines, which experienced an outbreak in October 2013. It appears that unvaccinated Amish missionaries brought back measles while overseas.
This is an example of what would be expected to occur if individuals not immunized are exposed to the disease. Of course those immunized are protected in this same scenario. This is not an example of the cure being more harmful that the disease. Get objective, factual information about your health decisions. Consider the source, the inherent bias and consequences both for your action and inaction. The many diseases for which immunizations are offered are not to be taken lightly. Part of the equation for deciding to implement mass immunization programs involves substantial consequences (including death) resulting from exposure to those not immunized. The choice remains yours. Just remember: You can have your opinions, but you can’t wish them into being medical facts.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser In the News: The Measles Outbreak and Not Getting Vaccinated

Here’s a cautionary tale to those who rely on non-medical sources to guide their health decisions. 

measlesuscases

The measles vaccine became available in 1963. Prior to then, the virus causing measles infected approximately 500,000 Americans a year. On average, this resulted in 500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations per year. Universal administration of the measles vaccine in the United States was so effective that measles was officially deemed “eliminated” – meaning there had been no sustained outbreaks in the subsequent 50 years and no homegrown outbreaks since 2000.

By now, most everyone is aware of medically-unfounded controversies related to vaccine administration. The fear-mongering and isolated reports of adverse reactions, the frequency of which fall into statistic insignificance (with all due respect to anyone actually affected), have led to a not insignificant fall in the national immunization rate. Although the premise of herd immunity is meant to shield the population from outbreaks (roughly meaning that if a certain percentage of the population is immunized, then the entire population is virtually immunized), enough people are now exposed that significant occurrences of measles are being seen. This year, cases of measles have already been reported in 18 states. This represents the most measles cases in 20 years. The largest outbreak is occurring in Ohio.

nonmedical vaccine exemptions

Ninety percent of new cases of measles have been seen among those who have not been vaccinated. The reasons cited by these individuals for not getting vaccinated include philosophical, religious or other personal reasons for not using vaccines. High rates of nonmedical vaccine exemptions are enough to cause an outbreak. There needs to be an exposure.

vaccine preventable outbreaks

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, the proverbial match that started the flame has been exposure to infected travelers. Most notable has been a cluster resulting from the Philippines, which experienced an outbreak in October 2013. It appears that unvaccinated Amish missionaries brought back measles while overseas.
This is an example of what would be expected to occur if individuals not immunized are exposed to the disease. Of course those immunized are protected in this same scenario. This is not an example of the cure being more harmful that the disease. Get objective, factual information about your health decisions. Consider the source, the inherent bias and consequences both for your action and inaction. The many diseases for which immunizations are offered are not to be taken lightly. Part of the equation for deciding to implement mass immunization programs involves substantial consequences (including death) resulting from exposure to those not immunized. The choice remains yours. Just remember: You can have your opinions, but you can’t wish them into being medical facts.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Flu Myths and Questions

flu-vaccine-facts-myths

Every year 36,000 people die and over 200,000 are hospitalized each year due to the flu—in the U.S. alone. If you’re not getting a vaccine every year, you are subjecting yourself to a significantly higher risk and allowing fears and myths to get the better of you. Knowledge is power. Learn the facts.
Does the flu shot give you the flu?
No, no, no. The influenza vaccine cannot cause flu illness. There are vaccines that involve the delivery of live virus, including mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox and polio. Influenza is not in that category. Flu shots are made either with ‘inactivated’ vaccine viruses that are not infectious or they contain no flu vaccine viruses at all (and instead have recombinant particles that serve to stimulate your immune system).
The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. These symptoms are among the same symptoms you see with influenza, so it’s easy to confuse them as flu symptoms. They are not.
Controlled medical studies have been performed on humans in which some people received flu shots and others received shots containing salt water. There were no differences in symptoms other than increased redness and soreness at the injection site for those receiving influenza vaccine. The flu shot does not give you the flu.
I swear I’ve gotten the flu right after getting the flu shot! How is that possible if I can’t get the flu from the flu shot?
I always remind people that the flu vaccine does an even better job of preventing you from dying from the flu than it does in preventing you from catching the flu (and it does that at a 70–90% rate).  It primes your immune system to better fight off the influenza virus when you’re exposed to it.
There are several reasons why someone still might get a flu-like illness after being vaccinated against the flu:

  • Influenza is just one group of respiratory viruses. There are many other viruses that cause similar symptoms including the common cold, which is also most commonly seen during “flu season.” The flu vaccine only protects against influenza, so any other infection timed correctly can give you similar symptoms.
  • When you get immunized against influenza, it takes the body up to two weeks to obtain the desired level of protection. There is nothing preventing you from having been infected before or during the period immediately before immunity sets in. Such an occurrence will result in your obtaining the flu despite being vaccinated.
  • An additional reason why some people may experience flu-like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a strain of influenza that is different from the viruses against which the vaccine is designed to protect. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the match between the viruses selected to make the vaccine and those causing illness among the population that same year.
  • It is also the case that the flu vaccine doesn’t always provide adequate protection against the flu. This is more likely to occur among people that have weakened immune systems or people age 65 and older. Even if the vaccine is 90% effect, some individuals will contact the flu despite having been vaccinated.

Please don’t get the wrong message from this section. These explanations are the exceptions, not the rule. In the overwhelming number of cases, the influenza vaccine does an excellent job of protecting against and prevent disease from the influenza virus.
Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
No. Influenza causes tens of thousands of deaths every year. If you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or are especially young or old, you are placing yourself at significant risk by not getting vaccinated. Even if you aren’t in one of the above categories and are otherwise healthy, a flu infection can cause serious complications, including hospitalization or death.
Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone six months and older. Once vaccinated, your immune protection decreases over time. These boosters are scheduled and dosed to help you maintain the best level of protection against influenza. Additionally, the virus mutates (changes) every year, so what you were covered for this year may not apply next year.
You can make a decision not to get vaccinated, and Straight, No Chaser has posted tips for you to protect yourself in the event you choose not to. (Click here to review.) However, you’re doing so in the face of the solid consensus of medical evidence and research. You should seriously question the motives or knowledge of someone who suggests that you should not get vaccinate for influenza, particularly if they profess to be involved in healthcare. Get vaccinated.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress