William Matzner, MD, doctor and health researcher, comments on the Flu Shot
While the flu shot is a health issue that is discussed again and again every year, consider the larger picture that with the flu shot the overall infection rate will be reduced, notes Dr. William Matzner in his article
By: Healthcare Analytics LLC
Health matters require informed decisions. If you have any doubts, review the matter with your primary care doctor to make an informed decision. Your doctor, with the benefit of your particular medical history, can provide personalized advice. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintain a website with detailed information about the flu shot, and related information.
While anyone can get the flu, some people are susceptible to a more severe form of infection. These include:
* Children younger than 5 years old, particularly those that are younger than 2 years old
* People older than 65 years old
* People suffering from asthma or chronic lung disease
* People with neurological conditions, heart disease and those suffering from blood, liver, kidney, endocrine and metabolic disorders
* People whose immune system has recently been compromised due to an illness
* Pregnant women
Since there are different strains of the influenza virus each year, the flu vaccine needs to be modified accordingly to target the particular strain that will circulate that year. However, there is no way of knowing which strain it might be. Thus the effectiveness of the vaccine is somewhat compromised. Despite this, the CDC still heavily recommends that you get the flu vaccine as it offers at least some degree of protection even if it's not completely effective in preventing the disease. Since the influenza virus is transmittable, it is logical to assume that if a fewer number of people get sick, then the virus won't be able to penetrate as deeply and spread.
In the past seven flu seasons, influenza vaccination prevented around 5.3 million illnesses and 85,000 hospitalizations and as per the CDC a mere 5% increase in the number of vaccinations could have further prevented as many as 483,000 influenza illnesses. It would have stopped another two hundred thousand plus influenza-associated medical visits, and around seven thousand influenza-associated hospitalizations across the U.S.A.
Besides CDC, other professional medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases and the American Medical Association also recommend an annual flu vaccine.
As mentioned earlier, when in doubt, as your primary care doctor who understands your particular situation. While the CDC recommends that anyone older than 6 months get the flu shot, including pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions, there are exceptions. If you're severely allergic to the components in the flu shot then you should not get vaccinated. If you have ever had the Guillan-Barré
One of the components involved in the manufacturing of flu vaccines are eggs but as per the CDC, even if you suffer from egg allergies, you can still get the flu shot. In case your allergies are serious and you are concerned side effects from vaccinations, please consult your doctor.
About William L. Matzner, M.D., PhD, FACP
Dr. William Matzner works in the area of healthcare economics consulting at Healthcare Analytics, LLC, in California. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University. He received his M.D. with Honors from Baylor College of Medicine. In 1988, he was the Solomon Scholar for Resident Research at Cedar Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Matzner subsequently was awarded a PhD in Neuro Economics from Claremont Graduate University. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Palliative Medicine. He has researched and published extensively on the issue of reproduction and immunology in medical literature. He has been in private practice since 1989, specializing in Reproductive Immunology and Internal medicine.
Healthcare Analytics LLC
Dr. William Lee Matzner