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Seniors Urged to Get Flu Shots as U.S. Cases Rise

Experts are asking seniors to get their flu shots ASAP as an exceptionally nasty flu season unfolds across the United States.

Already, 8.7 million flu cases have been reported, with 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the last week alone, the nu...

Feds Urge Vaccination as 'Tripledemic' Hits More Americans

Flu, RSV and COVID-19 are creating a perfect storm of respiratory disease that is overwhelming the nation's health care systems.

Vaccination will be key to getting through the winter holidays with your health intact, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a m...

Flu Has Started Early and With a Punch: CDC

Flu season has struck the United States hard and early, burdening hospitals that are also coping with a surge in other respiratory viruses, including RSV and COVID-19.

The nation has seen at least 4.4 million cases of flu so far this season, with 38,000 hospitalizations and 2,100 deaths from flu, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

While typically f...

Flu Shot Could Be Lifesaver for Folks With Heart Failure

People battling heart failure should make the time to get their flu shots now, a new study suggests.

Not only will the shots help prevent influenza in this high-risk group, but it could also reduce pneumonia infections and cardiac complications, researchers report.

"If you have heart failure, you should get your flu shot because it can save your life -- that is what we found in thi...

America's ER Docs Warn of Surge in Patients Due to 'Tripledemic'

Emergency rooms are clogged with people who are waiting for inpatient beds or other care and it's causing a crisis, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

ACEP is one of more than 30 medical, patient advocacy and public health and safety groups who have sent

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • November 11, 2022
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  • With Tough Flu Season Already Here, An Expert Answers Your Flu Shot Questions

    Indications are that this year's flu season is going to be particularly nasty, making the annual influenza vaccine even more important than usual, infectious disease experts say.

    People already are landing in the hospital with severe cases of influenza, about a month ahead of when flu season usually begins, said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infect...

    CDC Warns of Possible Severe Flu Season Ahead

    Australia is experiencing its worst flu season in five years, and that doesn't bode well for the United States, federal health officials warned Tuesday.

    America's flu season often mirrors what unfolds in Australia, where winter spans April through October.

    Making matters worse, only 49% of Americans plan to...

    Another Reason to Get the Flu Shot: Lowered Risk for Stroke

    As flu season approaches, a new study is pointing to a possible bonus from vaccination: a lower risk of stroke.

    Researchers in Spain found that among nearly 86,000 middle-aged and older adults, those who got their annual flu shot were less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke over the next y...

    Pediatricians Urge Parents to Get Kids a Flu Shot

    Children should get their flu shot as soon as it is available, preferably by the end of October, a leading medical group recommends.

    Flu vaccination lagged last year, with 55% of children getting their vaccines, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) noted. Coverage levels were 8 percentage points lower for Black childre...

    Australia's Current Flu Season Is Tough: Will America's Be the Same?

    As the worst flu season in five years winds down in Australia, U.S. health officials are bracing for similar severity this coming fall.

    Why? The flu season in Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia can often predict the potential for a similar experience in Northern Hemisphere countries.

    "We watch all of the South...

    Could Getting Your Flu Shot Help Prevent Alzheimer's?

    A yearly flu shot may do more than protect you from a nasty bout of influenza: New research suggests it may help guard against Alzheimer's disease as well.

    People who were vaccinated at least once over four years were 40% less likely to develop

    CDC Panel Urges Seniors to Get New, More Potent Flu Shot This Fall

    A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory panel on Wednesday voted to recommend that Americans 65 and older get the new, more potent flu shots because the regular shot doesn't offer enough protection.

    The more powerful vaccines might also ...

    COVID Is More Dangerous Than Flu for Kids, Study Finds

    COVID-19 poses far more danger to kids than seasonal flu, a new study confirms.

    "We found the impact to pediatric hospitalization among the two viruses are not equivalent and, in fact, children admitted with COVID-19 or MIS-C experienced longer stays and required more invasive treatments like mechanical ventilation than children admitted with the flu," said principal investigator Dr....

    Flu Shots Lag in States With Low COVID Vaccine Uptake

    Adult flu shots have slumped in states with low COVID-19 vaccination rates, suggesting that COVID-19 vaccination behavior may have spilled over to flu-vaccine behavior, new research indicates.

    University of California, Los Angeles researchers point to declining trust in public health agencies caused by controversy over

  • By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
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  • June 16, 2022
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  • Fever, Fatigue: Scientists Pinpoint the Brain's 'Sickness Center'

    A small area of your brain triggers the familiar symptoms of fever, chills, fatigue and loss of appetite when you have a viral or bacterial infection, new animal research suggests.

    The findings could eventually lead to ways to reverse this process when symptoms pose a risk to patients, such as when a fever gets too high or people don't eat or drink enough, according to the Harvard Univers...

    Repeat Infections With COVID-19 May Become the Norm

    COVID-19 might be easing into a new status as a widely circulating and somewhat harsher version of the common cold, experts say - a virus that folks could contract repeatedly, even if they were recently infected.

    "[SARS-CoV-2] is destined to join four of its family members and become an endemic coronavir...

    Is It COVID, Flu or RSV? New At-Home Test May Tell

    Americans will soon be able to self-test at home to find out whether they have COVID-19, the flu or another common germ, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

    The first nonprescription test that can spot all three respiratory viral illnesses was approved Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will be available at r...

    Today's Seasonal Flu May Descend From 1918 Pandemic Strain

    Today's H1N1 flu -- commonly known as the swine flu - appears to be a direct descendent of the influenza virus that caused the catastrophic 1918 pandemic, a new analysis shows.

    Genetic data drawn from 1918 flu samples recently discovered in Germany suggests that all genomic segments of the seasonal H1N1 flu could be ...

    Combo of COVID & Flu Even More Lethal for Hospitalized Patients

    Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who also have the flu have a double whammy that brings a much higher risk of severe illness and death than COVID alone, according to a new study.

    The findings highlight the need to test COVID-19 patients for the flu and underscore the

  • By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
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  • March 30, 2022
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  • 'Live' Type of Flu Shot Is Safe for Kids With Asthma: Study

    Yearly flu shots are especially important for kids with asthma as any virus can trigger an asthma attack. But in the not-too-distant future, these kids might be able to get a spritz instead of a jab, new research hints.

    Current recommendations suggest children with asthma get an inactivated flu shot (...

    Flu Vaccine No Match for Circulating Variants This Season

    This season's flu shot offered virtually no protection against infection, a new government report shows.

    While this latest vaccine only cut the risk of getting a mild case of flu by 16%, the agency has noted that flu vaccines typically reduce the risk of illness by 40% to 60%.

    Still, the shot shoul...

    Did Dinosaurs Get Colds, Too?

    The fossilized bones of a young dinosaur show evidence of a respiratory infection that may have caused familiar flu-like symptoms -- fever, coughing and trouble breathing.

    Dolly, as she's been dubbed by researchers, was an immature diplodocid -- a large, long-necked plant-eating sauropod. Her remains were found in southwest Montana and date back about 150 million years to the late Jurassi...

    Seasonal Flu Shots Give Kids Broader Protection Against New Strains

    A new study finds that kids who have received years of seasonal flu shots have antibodies that provide wider protection against new influenza strains, something researchers say doesn't happen in adults.

    These findings could help efforts to develop a universal flu vaccine for children. That would be significant, according to the authors of the

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  • February 7, 2022
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  • CDC Study Shows Power of Flu Vaccine for Kids

    Flu vaccines protect children against serious illness, even when the vaccine doesn't match the circulating flu virus, according to a new study that reinforces the importance of flu shots.

    Flu viruses are constantly changing, and the effectiveness of flu vaccines can be influenced by the similarity between the viruses used in vaccine production and the viruses circulating in a given flu se...

    New Worry: 'Flurona,' When COVID Meets the Flu

    It's a COVID phenomenon that had, until now, gone relatively unnoticed: You can be infected with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.

    Thanks to the internet, it even has a name -- "flurona." And it will likely happen much more often this particular winter, as the flu season kicks into gear and the highly contagious

  • Serena McNiff HealthDay Reporter
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  • January 10, 2022
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  • Going Viral: Flu Rebounds as Omicron Variant Surges

    Flu is making a comeback in the United States this year, with cases rising around the country even as the Omicron variant is surging, infectious disease experts say.

    "We already are seeing significant increases in the amount of influenza occurring across the United States, especially with regards to the eastern part of the U.S. and the central part of the country," said Dr. Tina Tan, an i...

    Flu Vaccine May Not Protect Against Main Flu Strain: Study

    This season's flu vaccine may do little to prevent infection with the main circulating virus strain because the strain has changed since the vaccine was developed, a new study suggests.

    However, the vaccine is still likely to protect against severe illness and death, according to the U.S. researchers. They assessed the vaccine's effectiveness against the

  • Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
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  • December 17, 2021
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  • Who Gets a Flu Shot? Having a Doctor Is Key

    Public health experts have long recommended getting a seasonal flu shot, but a new study suggests there's hesitancy about that vaccine, too. Physicians and pharmacists can play a key role in flu shot uptake, the research shows.

    Only about 44% of people who had a health care provider got their flu shots, the study found, but it was even worse among those who didn't have a doctor: Only one ...

    With Holidays Ahead, COVID Boosters a Must for People With Weak Immune Systems

    If you're a patient with a weakened immune system, roll up your sleeves to stay safe over the holidays and winter months.

    "Immunocompromised patients absolutely should get a flu shot as well as an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose," said Dr. Marwa Kaisey, a neuroimmunologist and assistant professor of neurology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

    "Otherwise, they are more likely to have ...

    Child Nasal Swab Tests Conducted by Parent Yield Accurate Results: Study

    Parent-collected nasal swab samples from kids could be as good at detecting respiratory infections such as COVID-19 as those taken by nurses, but that's not the case with saliva samples, British researchers say.

    Respiratory infections such as colds and flu are among the most common illnesses in kids treated by primary care doctors. COVID-19 is also a respiratory infection.

    "Our...

    Zinc Might Help Shorten Your Cold or Flu, Study Finds

    Many people pop a zinc supplement at the first sign of a cold, and there's new evidence supporting the habit.

    Australian researchers found that the supplements appear to help shorten respiratory tract infections, such as colds, flu, sinusitis and pneumonia.

    Many over-the-counter cold and cough remedies offer only "marginal benefits," the researchers noted, making "zinc a viable 'na...

    COVID Pandemic May Have Driven a Flu Strain Into Extinction

    It's well-known that COVID-19 pandemic restrictions pretty much quashed the 2020-2021 flu season, with influenza cases falling to never-before-seen lows in the United States.

    So little flu circulated, in fact, that some scientists now suspect that one of the major strains of influenza might have gone extinct, for lack of humans to infect.

    Influenza B/Yamagata is one of four strains ...

    Flu Cases Already Up 23% This Season: Walgreens

    Flu activity in the United States is 23% higher so far this season than in 2020, sales of flu medications at Walgreens suggest.

    The significant increase shown by the company's analysis of its own data reflects the historically low levels of flu last year as people stayed home, wore masks and got a record number of flu shots during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Walgreens Chief Medica...

    • Robert Preidt and Ernie Mundell and Robin Foster
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    • October 20, 2021
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    Is a Really Bad Flu Season on the Way?

    It could be a bad flu season this year -- and for a couple of years to come -- in places in the United States where COVID-19 restrictions like social distancing and masking have been lifted, researchers warn.

    These sorts of measures caused flu cases to decline by more than 60% within the first 10 weeks after COVID-19 lockdowns were implemented in 2020, Columbia University researchers foun...

    60% of Americans Will Delay or Skip Flu Shot This Year: Survey

    Experts are warning that the upcoming flu season could be severe as social distancing measures are relaxed across the United States, but a new survey finds that 6 in 10 Americans may delay or skip a flu shot.

    However, it also found that 98% of those who got a flu shot last season do plan to get one again this year.

    While 82% of the 1,000 adult participants of the online survey said ...

    CDC Urges Flu Shots as Survey Shows Half of Americans Don't Plan on It

    A new survey showing that nearly half of U.S. adults are not likely to get a flu shot this season has prompted federal health officials to urge all Americans to get the flu vaccines.

    Even more troubling is that the poll of 1,110 respondents aged 18 and older also found that nearly 1 in 4 of those at high risk for flu-related complications said they don't intend to get a flu shot, The ...

    Social Distancing Kept Kids From Getting Flu, RSV

    Social distancing and mask mandates during the pandemic nearly eliminated cases of the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among children, a new study finds.

    "Numbers don't lie. Face masking, and proper hygiene and isolation, can be effective means to protect the vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and young children, during the respiratory virus season," said study author Dr. Os...

    Flu Shot Even More Important During Pandemic: Expert

    Although the focus is on the COVID-19 vaccine, don't forget to also get your flu shot -- it's important, an expert says.

    "In the United States, it is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months be vaccinated against the flu, and there are many vaccines available that will fit your need based on age and other important risk factors," said Dr. Pedro Piedra. He is a professor of molec...

    SmartWatches Detect Viral Infection Before Symptoms Surface in Study

    Someday, your smartwatch might be able to tell you if you're coming down with a virus and how sick you'll be -- even before symptoms start.

    In a small study, researchers showed that a wearable device, like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, could detect which patients had the H1N1 flu and which had a common cold.

    "One of our goals was to be able to detect that infection before a person feels ...

    Is Flu Ready for a Comeback? Get Your Shot

    Health officials are bracing for a viral double whammy this fall and winter.

    "This year, we expect influenza and COVID-19 to circulate at the same time," said Dr. Jonathan Grein, director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

    That's why Grein and his colleagues remind Americans that it's time to get your seasonal flu shot. This fall, it's not only a key to keeping...

    Is a Combo COVID/Flu Shot on the Way?

    During the next few weeks or months, you might find yourself dropping by the doctor's office or pharmacy to get your annual flu shot along with a dose of COVID vaccine.

    Unfortunately, you'll have to get two individual jabs. Though at least two drug companies are working on a combo flu/COVID booster, the single-dose shot won't be ready for this flu season.

    But rest assured that it's ...

    Keeping Classrooms Safe for Kids With Asthma, Allergies

    Parents of kids with asthma and allergies should prepare a plan to keep them safe as schools reopen, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) says.

    Along with guarding against COVID-19, it's important to protect against cold, flu and other viruses that pose a risk to children with asthma. That includes wearing masks, washing hands and using hand sanitizer whenever po...

    Flu Shot Might Help Ward Off Severe COVID

    A flu shot might offer some protection against severe effects of COVID-19, a new study suggests.

    If you are infected with COVID-19, having had a flu shot makes it less likely you will suffer severe body-wide infection, blood clots, have a stroke or be treated in an intensive care unit, according to the study.

    "Our work is important," said study co-author Dr. Devinder Singh, noting l...

    Your Job Could Put You at Much Higher Risk for Flu

    Your job may significantly increase your risk of catching the flu, with potential implications for the spread of other infectious diseases including COVID-19, according to new research.

    On average, working folks are 35% more likely to get the flu than those without jobs, but an analysis of U.S. federal data found sharp differences between certain jobs and industries.

    The more work-r...

    As COVID Rules Ease, Common Colds Rebound Across America

    Infectious disease expert Ravina Kullar's husband has a cold. So does her sister-in-law.

    Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic's waiting rooms are becoming much more frequented by folks with coughs, sneezes and sniffles, said family medicine physician Dr. Neha Vyas.

    These folks are part of a nationwide trend occurring as COVID-19 vaccinations rise, masks drop, protective restrictions lift...

    Pandemic Silver Lining: Fewer Dangerous Flare-Ups for COPD Patients

    Public health precautions meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19 may have had an unintended but happy side effect.

    They may also have benefited individuals who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study.

    During the pandemic, admissions for COPD flare-ups dropped dramatically -- by 53% -- at University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) hospitals.

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    More Evidence Flu Shot Is Safe in Pregnancy

    There's more proof that getting a flu shot during pregnancy doesn't pose a risk to children's health.

    "This study adds to what we know from other recent studies showing no harmful effects of flu vaccination during pregnancy on the longer-term health of children," said study leader Dr. Deshayne Fell, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, in Canada.

    "This...

    In 10 Years, COVID-19 Could Be 'Just the Sniffles'

    The virus fueling the COVID-19 pandemic could become just an ordinary sniffle-causing nuisance within the next 10 years, a new study suggests.

    Researchers stressed that the projection is based on mathematical models, and not a crystal-ball prediction.

    But, they say, given what's known about the human immune response to SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- it is possible t...

    Another Study Finds COVID Patients Face Higher Risk for Stroke

    A new study adds to mounting evidence that COVID patients have an added risk of stroke.

    Researchers analyzed data on more than 20,000 U.S. adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between January and November 2020. The analysis found that their risk of stroke was higher than for patients with other types of infections, including flu.

    "These findings suggest that COVID-19 may increase the r...

    Unhealthy in Your 20s? Your Mind May Pay the Price Decades Later

    If you're a 20-something who wants to stay sharp, listen up: A new study suggests poor health habits now may increase your risk of mental decline later in life.

    Its authors say young adulthood may be the most critical time for adopting a healthy lifestyle in order to keep your brain sharp when you're older.

    That's the upshot of an analysis of data from about 15,000 adults who were p...