5 Ways to Avoid Getting Sick This Winter

It’s that season again. The one with lots of coughing, sneezing, sniffling, aching and carrying around large wads of tissues. So how do you protect yourself from colds and the flu, other than staying home from now through May? Obviously, getting a flu shot should be first on your list. Although no one can predict whether this flu season will be as severe as last year’s, a new study that looked at flu rates among those age 60-plus for the …

Change of Advice on Pneumonia Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that people age 65 and older get two pneumonia vaccines — the traditional shot as well as a newer version that can offer additional protection. An immunization advisory panel to the CDC voted 13-2 in August to recommend that those 65-plus get the newer vaccine, called Prevnar 13, even if they already have had the current version, Pneumovax 23. Those who have not gotten a pneumonia vaccine yet should …

Warn Your Grown Kids: Flu Killing Young Adults

Normally it’s those 65 and older who get hit hardest by the flu, but this flu season has been particularly deadly for young and middle-aged adults, causing many more deaths and dramatically higher hospitalization rates than the previous three seasons. The reason is a return of the dangerous H1N1 virus, or swine flu, that caused the 2009-10 pandemic. This particular strain of flu makes people “very sick, very fast, and it kills,” said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Tom …

Is Anyone Tracking the Flu During the Shutdown?

Normally during flu season the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lets us know the good and bad news, tracking how fast the flu is spreading, how severe it is and how well those flu shots are working. The information is especially important for figuring out next year’s batch of vaccines. But thanks to the ongoing government shutdown, the CDC hasn’t been able to update its FluView since Sept. 21, and its influenza activity map hasn’t been updated …

Flu Season: It’s Here and It’s Bad

Flu season has officially reached epidemic proportions across the country with 47 states reporting widespread flu activity and emergency rooms contending with a flood of patients. Adding to the misery is that this year’s flu strain is a much more aggressive type than last year’s. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency this past weekend, giving pharmacists permission to administer flu vaccinations to more people. The mayor of Boston also declared a public health emergency last week …