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It's not too late to get a flu shot

With widespread influenza activity in California, physicians are encouraged to remind patients that it’s not too late to get their flu shot. Although influenza season usually peaks between December and February, flu activity can occur as late as May. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to respond fully. Vaccine effectiveness does vary for the different strains and year by year. Vaccination will still prevent infection in a large number of cases. If disease does occur after vaccination, the vaccine can reduce the severity of flu symptoms. An ...

Talk to your patients about the flu shot

With flu activity increasing and people planning gatherings for the holidays, now is the perfect time to talk to your patients about getting their flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year. This season, however, CDC recommends only the flu shot (not the nasal spray vaccine). While seasonal flu activity varies, flu activity usually peaks between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. As long as flu activity is ...

San Diego flu summit to discuss strategies for maximizing flu vaccine rate

Mark your calendars for the 12th Kick the Flu Summit, on September 7, 2016, in San Diego. The summit, hosted by the San Diego Immunization Coalition, will convene medical, health and community service providers from both public and private sectors to share information, collaborate and strategize about how to promote and increase the rate of flu immunizations during the 2016-17 influenza season. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the San Diego Central Library. This year’s summit features keynote speaker Bill Atkinson, M.D., MPH, Associate ...

Two flu deaths confirmed by CDPH

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) last week confirmed the season's first two flu-related deaths in California—one an infant less than six months old. The deaths serve as another somber reminder that influenza can cause serious illness or death. Influenza viruses circulate at their peak levels from December to April, according to CDPH, which is urging people to get vaccinated before the flu spreads widely. “As California’s public health officer, I am saddened when the flu turns into loss of life,” said State Public Health Officer Karen Smith, M.D. “It ...

CDC says flu vaccine better match for 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the flu shot available to the public this year is a much better match for the flu virus that is expected to circulate during this year's flu season. Last season’s vaccine did not protect against a particular strain of H3N2 flu virus – known as the "Switzerland variant” – causing the vaccine's effectiveness rate against the H3N2 strain to be only about 13 percent. In an effort to get it right in 2015, scientists scrutinized 199 flu specimens collected in ...

CDC encourages antiviral treatment for influenza

With a poorly matched influenza vaccine and influenza activity high across much of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging physicians to prescribe antiviral drugs to patients who are very ill with flu-like symptoms, particularly those over age 65 and those at high risk of complications from the virus. According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), flu activity in California is beginning to increase. The first influenza death in the state of a person under the age of 65 for the 2014-2015 season ...