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The lawsuit from federal health officials remains clear and consistent: Get the flu vaccine
Make no mistake: complications from the flu are scary, says dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn., Who is part of a committee that advises federal health officials on immunization practices.
"As we get older, more of us get heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, asthma, "Schaffner says.
Federal recommendations, he says, are "anyone and everyone in the United States should get vaccinated each and every year." Schaffner says.
Within a typical year, about two-thirds of people over 65 get vaccinated against the flu, studies show, compared with 45% of adults overall and 55% to 60% of children. 30% to 40%.
Take the case of JoJo O'Neal, a 55-year-old radio personality and music show host in Orlando, Fla., who was diagnosed with adult onset asthma in 2004 at age 40.
"I skated along for a lot of years, "O'Neal says," and then, finally, in 2018 – boom! It hit me, and hit me hard. " She was out of work for nearly two weeks and could barely move. She was extremely nauseated and had an excruciating headache and aching body, she says. "I spent a lot of time just sitting on my couch feeling miserable."
O'Neal says it takes a lot to "shut down," but this bout with the flu certainly did. Even more upsetting, she says, she has passed the virus on who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"We've got issues and worries about breathing, so having the flow of lots of anxiety," O'Neal says. This year, she's not taking any chances: She has already gotten her flu shot.
MeiLan Han, professor of internal medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Michigan Health System and a national spokesperson for the American Lung Association.
week or more, she says. But for someone with underwater conditions, it can take longer to recover from the river – three to four weeks. "What I worry about most patients," Han says, "is hospitalization and respiratory failure."
In fact, Han says, 92% of adults are hospitalized for the flu
When they come to terms with the condition, they say, "the virus goes right to the lung, and it can make a situation." where it's hard to breathe even harder. "
Other chronic health conditions – diabetes, HIV and cancer, among them – impair the immune system
Even the case of the flu can not be understood can be, Han says.
"People often tell me 'That's not me. I've never had the flu. I'm not at risk, and I'm not around people who might give me the river. '
O'Neal says she was not at risk either – until the flu flattened her.
Healthy pregnant women, too, are more likely to complain and hospitalize if they contract the flu and are the majority of mothers-to-be surveyed in the United States – 65% – have not been immunized against those two illnesses, According to a recent CDC Vital Signs report.
Some women mistakenly worry that the flu vaccine is not safe for them or their babies. "I think some of the fears about safety are certainly understandable, but they're misinformed," says Dr. Alicia Fry, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch of the CDC's Influenza Division.
The evidence is clear, Fry says: "The vaccine is extremely safe." risk of flu hospi 40%.
As for worries that the woman's vaccination might not be safe for developing fetus, Fry says the opposite is true.
"It can prevent 70% of the disease associated with flu viruses in the baby, "Fry says. "It's a double protection: Mom is protected, and the baby's protected." Infants can not catch the flu vaccine until they are 6 months old.
Now, the vaccine will not protect against all the strains of the flu virus that may be circulating. But Schaffner says: "Although it's not perfect, the vaccine has actually become a lot of disease completely," he says. "And even if you do the flu, it's likely to be less severe, and you're less likely to develop complications."