Monday, November 17, 2008

The importance of getting an Influenza Vaccination Part 2

This is a reminder posting for everyone to consider getting an influenza vaccation Now some interesting facts.

1. The C.D.C.'s new recommendations mean that about 86% of the population should get this shot. Last year, under 38% of the population actually received an influenza vaccination.

2. The vaccination is estimated to be 75-80% effective. This varies from year to year, depending on how well the vaccine matches the actual live virus strains.

3. The injection vaccination for influenza contains inactivated viruses. You can not get influenza from this shot.

4. A 2004 Institute of Medicine report conlcuded there is no evidence of a link between the thimerosal preservative and developmental problems in children.

5. In surveillance studies, about 20% of the population gets influenza.

6. Repeat factoids: >200,000 people per year are hospitalized from flu. >36,000 people die per influenza infections.

7. The incubation period after exposure to virus until the start of symptoms is 18-72 hours, depending on the amount of virus to which you're exposed. Therefore, wash your hands and rinse your nose passages routinely with water or saline solution (see other posts

8. The average person sheds live virus, that is contagious, for five days beginning from the start of symptoms.

9. A properly fitting N95 mask will prevent 100% of viruses from being inhaled. Wear one around sick patients and outdoors. (

10. We do not clearly understand why the influenza virus is particularly capable is causing a violent over-reaction from the immune system. This reaction causes a dysfunctional immune system, which now can not fight off bacteria properly.

11. The number one cause of death is from a secondary lower respiratory infection, bacterial pneumonia. This peaks at about 14 days after the start of the influenza infection. So remember even though the virus is gone, the damage is still ongoing. Take care to prevent further complications.

12. Full recovery of the immune system takes at least 3-4 weeks, even for "minor" influenza infections.

13. Only about 40% of health care workers actually got the vaccination. Assuming the same health as the general populations, means that only under the half to health care workers actually got the influenza vaccine. This is shameful and bad preventative medicine, yet typical of our culture. In our office 75% of employees were vaccinate this year. I personally appealed to all of those who declined. None had a medical reason to not get vaccinated.

14. In 2007, 72% of people greater than 65 years old got an influenza vaccination. This was the most highest compliance of all age groups. They also need it the most.

15. Manufacturers are so certain Americans will not get their vaccinations that they made enough vaccine for only about half of the general population. Surveys of people show that only 52% even stated they would get the vaccination. So our societal behavior should change. "You must become the change you seek." M. Ghandi.

16. Only 36.2% of asthmatics received an influenza vaccination. In this high risk group, again, bad preventative medicine. We try hard to remind our patients to get a flu vaccination annually.

17. The Centers for Disease Control publishes a map of detected influenza, for those who are travelling.

18. Your odds of avoiding are best if you: get a vaccination, wear at least a hat and scarf outside, use a N95 mask inside around people with colds or outside, wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, and rinse your nasal passages frequently with lots of saline solution.

If you have questions about influenza infections, ask you doctor or read up. Here's a good site

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