College students vaccinated against influenza less likely to develop flu-like illnesses
A study published in the December issue of the European medical journal Anticancer Research demonstrates that an ingredient used in a common cough suppressant may be useful in treating advanced prostate cancer. Researchers found that noscapine, which has been used in cough medication for nearly 50 years, reduced tumor growth in mice by 60% and
Full Post: Ingredient in cough medicine could treat prostate cancer
College students who are vaccinated against influenza appear less likely to develop flu-like illnesses, require related health care visits or experience impairments in academic performance during flu season, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
An estimated 9 percent to 20 percent of college and university students develop illness related to the influenza virus each year, according to background information in the article. “Some reports of influenza outbreaks on college and university campuses have documented even higher rates of illness among the students,” the authors write. “Undoubtedly, influenza is common among college and university students, and its prevention might have an important impact on their health and well-being.”
Kristin L. Nichol, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., and colleagues at the VA Medical Center and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, studied 12,975 students on two campuses and over four separate flu seasons between 2002 and 2006. Participants completed an initial questionnaire about demographic and health characteristics during October, and then monthly follow-up surveys between November and April regarding influenza-like illnesses and their effects on daily life. Vaccination status was assessed at the last follow-up survey.
Overall, 30.2 percent of the students were vaccinated, and 24.1 percent experienced at least one flu-like illness during flu season. Those who were vaccinated were significantly less likely to develop such an illness than those who were not vaccinated. “Vaccination was also associated with significant reductions in influenza-like illness-associated provider visits, antibiotic use, impaired school performance and numbers of days of missed class, missed work and illness during the influenza seasons,” the authors write.
When averaged over all the seasons, flu vaccination was associated with a reduction of one-half day of illnesses, so that one day of illness was prevented for every two students who were vaccinated. In addition, for every 17 students vaccinated, one day of missed class was prevented; 11 vaccinations prevented one day of missed work; and six vaccinations prevented one day spent in bed.
“Current recommendations for the prevention and control of influenza encourage vaccination for all persons 6 months and older who wish to reduce their risk of influenza illness. Our findings highlight the kinds of benefits that could accrue to the nearly 18 million college and university students in this country if they were vaccinated.”
(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162:1113-1118.
Workers age 50-64 who received influenza vaccine lost substantially fewer days of work and worked fewer days while ill, according to a new study in the Feb. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online. Given the concerns about antiviral drug resistance among this year’s flu strains, the study highlights the importance of vaccination
Full Post: Influenza vaccine helps 50-64 year olds stay at work
Despite recent doubts about its effectiveness, the influenza vaccine does give valuable protection against illness, hospital admission and death caused by influenza, and people over 65 should have the flu jab this winter, say experts on bmj.com. Several prominent media articles have suggested that the flu vaccination programme for the over 65s is not worthwhile.
Full Post: Seniors should have the flu jab this winter, say experts
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has announced a donation of up to one million doses of FluMist (Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal) by MedImmune in a partnership aimed at increasing influenza awareness and vaccinations in underserved communities and populations. NACCHO will make these donated doses of vaccine available to selected state
Full Post: NACCHO to donate up to one million doses of FluMist
Individuals younger than 50 who have been previously vaccinated do not appear to have a substantially different immune response to a half-dose of influenza vaccine than to a full dose, according to a report in the December 8/22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. This suggests that half-dose vaccination in healthy young individuals may be
Full Post: Half-dose vaccination in healthy young individuals may be effective in times of vaccine shortage
In what has been termed a landmark new study, it is suggested that wearing masks and washing hands prevents the spread of flu-like symptoms. While this may seem to many to be a case of the blatantly obvious, the study is apparently a “first-of-its-kind” examination of the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions in controlling the spread
Full Post: Protect yourself from flu by wearing a mask and washing your hands