The Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee is recommending including pandemic H1N1 into next flu season's vaccine.
Committee members are agreeing that it's still somewhat early in the year to predict what may happen with the pandemic strain, but they agreed that pandemic H1N1's predominance, unpredictability and the relative absence of traditional virus strains warranted the need for the pandemic strain's inclusion into next season's vaccine.
The inclusion of the H1N1 pandemic virus in the influenza vaccine does not necessarily signal that the pandemic is over.
Even though we are right in the middle of the traditional peak of flu season, recent data shows that the flu hasn't been much of a problem this year. However, if you or someone you know is one of the few who are sick, statistics mean nothing.
A typical bout with the flu is usually no more than a miserable inconvenience, but this does not mean it should be taken lightly. So what is the best way to take care of someone who is sick?
Primarily, you should be able to recognize the warning signs that something more severe is occurring.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention division of hygiene suggests that 80 percent of infectious disease is transmitted by touch. The Naval Health Research Center says that washing hands properly five times per day can decrease the incidence of respiratory disease by 45 percent. These are important pieces of information when you consider that the influenza virus can live on a surface for two to eight hours (depending on environmental factors).
We all know the best way to prevent the flu is by vaccination.
The average American believes the H1N1 influenza is now of little concern. Statistically speaking, to date, that sentiment is not unfounded. The number of people infected by H1N1 has been no more severe than a typical seasonal flu and the number of hospitalizations and deaths has not been high enough to be considered "newsworthy."
However, the historical pattern of this disease reminds us to remain vigilant. Most of the influenza pandemics we've faced came in multiple waves occurring over a two- to three-year period and death tolls were in the millions.
Since the novel H1N1 influenza began its trek around the world last spring, many theories have arisen as to its origins, modes of transmission and means of prevention. Much of this information is based on misunderstandings, falsehoods and the love of a good conspiracy theory. And because many of us get our news and information from non-medical sources, its time to discredit some of the common myths that are floating around.
Myth No. 1 -- "Flu vaccines contain adjuvants that cause an inflammatory response in the body."
Unfortunately we are not finished with the flu season yet. Peak activity over the past 26 seasons has typically occurred in February. Therefore, Public Health is not finished monitoring the disease and providing you with the most up-to-date medical advice. Though at this point you must be tired of hearing about "flu this" and "wash your hands that." So here are some things you may not have known about the novel H1N1 influenza.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- TriCare beneficiaries can now receive select vaccines with no out-of-pocket expense at retail pharmacies.
For the first time, beneficiaries can visit TriCare retail network pharmacies to receive seasonal flu, H1N1 flu and pneumonia vaccines at no cost.
As the novel H1N1 vaccine becomes readily available to everyone both on and off base, let's take a moment to talk about the benefits and disadvantages to getting vaccinated.
There are a lot of questions floating around lately, one I've been asked in particular:
Is it still worth my while getting vaccinated when cases of the flu seem to be on the decline?
Since early November, cases of H1N1 have continued to decline both nationwide and in the state of Utah.
We've all done a great job here in Utah handling the flu season so far. Everyone's getting vaccinated and taking smart precautions to keep themselves and those around them healthy. But did you ever wonder how other states are doing? The holidays are the busiest travel times of the entire year. Did you know more than 87 million people will travel during this year's holiday season? Here is some good information to keep in mind as you and your family travel this year.
Despite a decline in new flu case rates across the U.S., the Novel H1N1 flu season is still in full swing.
How is this considered the flu season when we've been dealing with it since August? That's because the typical influenza season begins in August and runs all the way until April of the following year. This year we have had to contend with seasonal influenza and the novel H1N1 influenza. Many of you probably wonder "what's the difference?" Each type of influenza has various genetic codes which can change from year to year and enhance their ability to invade our bodies and make us sick.
Now you're thinking, "Great, one more thing to worry about!" Try to relax!