Tag Archives: flu

Why get flu vaccine?

Influenza virus and pneumococci bacteria “dance” together.

Most parents know that the Flu vaccine has been proven to reduce the frequency of not only the flu but also ear infections, sinus infections and pneumonia caused by a bacteria called “pneumococcus”.  How that happens is becoming clear.  Our group has been studying the details of the interaction between Flu virus and pneumococci to unravel the steps in the dance between the flu virus and the pneumococcus in the nose that results in significant respiratory diseases.  Pneumococci live in the posterior part of the nose and upper throat as usually peaceful bacteria in all of us, harmlessly present in relatively low numbers.  The bacteria are so common that our studies to detect pneumococci in the nose and throat discover their presence in up to 80% of infants and young children and about 20% of adults at any one time.  However, the bacteria are harmless in patients that have a competent immune system unless an intercurrent viral upper respiratory infection like a cold or the flu occurs.

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Getting Ready For The 2013-2014 Flu Season

Another flu season is upon us. And we are left hoping it will be nothing like last year, which proved to be one of the worst flu seasons we have had in many years. The 2012-2013 season brought two surges of flu in New York State, with the first surge being influenza A and the second surge being influenza B. Not only did we see high reports of flu, but we saw the flu season span a longer period of time than we were used to.  The first cases of flu started as early as November and we continued to see it into May. We even had patients who were unlucky enough to have it twice within the same season.

Jan 25 Flu Results

(This is current information as of 1/31/2014 from the NYSDOH)

So as we embark on the 2013-2014 season, we are facing lots of questions, concerns, and misconceptions regarding the flu shot.  Here is a list of the top things I hear from our patients, and our response.

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