Posts Tagged ‘flu’

Unlikely Allies: The Flu Shot and Your Immune System

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Seems like your immune system and the flu shot would be mortal enemies—fighting to the death. But that would mean they’d both have to be alive to start with. And they’re not. The flu shot’s dead, poor thing.

Besides, it and your immune system are on the same side, working together to help you battle the flu shot’s evil twin: the live flu.

Internist Bruce Heckman explains in this week’s featured article, “Flu Shot With a Compromised Immune System: Good Idea for Most”:

When a healthy person gets sick, the body produces antibodies in the blood to help fight off the disease. The flu shot works because of this mechanism. It contains dead flu viruses that trigger the body to produce specific antibodies to combat the flu strain (or strains) going around that year. Because the shot only contains dead viruses, it doesn’t actually give you the flu.

Though we hear about people getting flu-like symptoms after the shot every year, the CDC says it’s rare for that to happen. When it does, the yuckiness doesn’t last more than a couple of days.

Do you usually get the flu shot? Why or why not?

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Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Got a Fever? Blame Your Brain

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte

When you have a temperature, your brain doesn’t think that’s a problem. In fact, it’s the culprit behind the sweating and shivering. A little brainy gland called the hypothalamus has reset the body’s temperature to a higher degree. Experts aren’t sure why, but it may be helping kill bacteria.

If you find that interesting, step right up, step right up! You’ll love this week’s featured article, “Causes of Night Fever: Why It’s Higher Later.” The reasons it rises at night are pretty commonsensical. You may be surprised.

By the way, why do you sometimes have chills with a fever? Your body thinks it’s cold because of the reset higher temperature, according to the article. See? Common sense. Weird, huh?

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Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer.
This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

How to boost your immunity during the cold and flu season

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

photo by James Gathany

Looking for a cure for the common cold or flu?  Sorry to disappoint.  You won’t find one that is proven to work.  Trying to boost your immunity to fight off those pesky viruses?  You’ve come to the right place.  As a reminder, colds and influenza are caused by viruses that affect your upper respiratory system.  Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.  They don’t work on colds or the flu.  If you do get one of these nasty viruses, it has to run its course as your body’s immune system fights it to the finish.  Here are some ways you can boost and strengthen your immune system to help in the battle.

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CDC updates flu shot recommendations. Dr H blogs about it at BasilandSpice.com

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Thanks to the Basil and Spice staff for allowing me to blog on their website yesterday. I wrote on the new recommendations by the CDC this year to give influenza immunizations to ages 6 months to 18 years old. The change is adding the 5- to 18-year-old group. I won’t repeat the post here, but a commenter posed an interesting question, “Why now?”

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Flu shot during pregnancy vaccinates newborn babies, too, says NEJM study

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Vaccinating an expectant mom also vaccinates the baby–for the first six months of its life outside the womb–according to a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Influenza causes more serious consequences in pregnant women and newborns than in the general public.  It can also lead to birth defects.  So what were the bottom-line findings of the study?

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