Doctors to Continue Promoting Flu Shots, Even to Americans Who Have Already Been Sick

BY Rachel Cagle
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"If you skipped this year’s flu shot and then came down with the virus, you may think there’s no point in getting the vaccine now, says Consumer Reports. But you’d be wrong."

"There are good reasons to get a flu shot, even if you’ve already been sick this season, says David Topham, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester and director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence."

"You can catch the flu more than once in a season, because having one 'type' of flu doesn’t provide immunity against the other types that may be circulating."

"Two types commonly make people ill: type A and type B. In the beginning of this flu season, most cases of flu in the U.S. were type B (an unusual development, because type A usually predominates in the early months of a season)."

"Now, it looks like type B flu may be beginning to wane while influenza A may be on the rise. And we’re probably far from done with flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest data, doctor’s visits due to flu-​like illness are still on the rise, though the pace may be slowing. For the first week of February, flu illnesses jumped from 6.7% to 6.8% of all doctor’s visits, while in the last week of January, flu illnesses shot up from 5.7% to 6.7% of all doctor’s visits."

"Flu season 'looks like it may be starting to level off, but it’s still going up for the country as a whole,' says Lynnette Brammer, M.P.H., an epidemiologist with the CDC’s influenza division."

"Getting the flu a second time can make you just as miserable as it did the first time around. And the potential for complications with the second infection is just as great as it was with the first."

"Those complications can be serious, such as pneumonia and even sepsis, a potentially deadly reaction your body can have to infection."

"Flu can also harm your heart. A study published in 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that an individual’s heart attack risk was six times higher than usual in the seven days following a positive test for influenza."

"This may be of most concern to older adults, especially those with heart disease or who are at higher risk for heart disease because of smoking, diabetes, or other factors, says Jeff Kwong, M.D., lead author of the study and a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario."

"The bottom line: If you haven’t had one yet, get a flu shot even if you already had the flu (or a bug you think might have been the flu). Although the vaccine doesn’t guarantee that you’ll avoid a second case of the flu, it will reduce the likelihood of it and its complications."

"If you did get the vaccine this season, there’s no need to get a second one. Scientists believe the protection usually lasts for the whole season."

"But if you’re still getting over a respiratory illness — or any kind of bug — wait until you’re fully recovered before going for the flu shot, says Topham at the University of Rochester. When you have another illness, he says, 'your immune system is focused on the infection that you have and doesn’t respond as well to a vaccine.'”

Even Routine Health Care Services Customers may not know about additional strains of the flu virus and how pivotal a flu shot can be to maintaining their health. Luckily, according to AudienceSCAN, they're receptive to many forms of both digital and traditional advertising. Last year, these consumers took action after receiving direct mail and email ads, seeing TV commercials and seeing sponsored search results.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. In addition, AdMall contains industry profiles on doctors and hospitals, general medical and surgical, as well as lead lists at the local level. Media companies, sales reps and agencies can access this data with a subscription to AdMall from SalesFuel.