Contracting the flu or influenza not only can result in serious and sometimes fatal health complications, but is responsible for tremendous health care costs and lost wages.
Bedford Park, IL (PRWEB) October 30, 2012
With the flu season quickly approaching, United Security Life and Health Insurance Company’s(USL&H) Medical Director, Leonard Hertko, M.D. outlines the guidelines and benefits of the influenza, pneumonia, shingles and whopping cough vaccines. Dr. Hertko stresses the importance of these vaccines in reducing serious illness, lost wages, and high medical bills.
“The Centers for Disease Control estimated that, on average, approximately 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year. Contracting the flu or influenza not only can result in serious and sometimes fatal health complications, but is responsible for tremendous health care costs and lost wages.” began Dr. Hertko. “In the journal Vaccine, the Center for Disease Control published a study in which dollar figures on visits to doctor’s offices and emergency rooms for the treatment of flu-stricken children were recorded. It also studied the amount of time parents had to miss work and care for little ones while they recover. The study examined the experience of 282 children under the age of five in three U.S. cities, and found that parents had medical expenses ranging from under $300 to about $4,000 and missed between 11 and 73 hours of work, depending on whether their child was able to recover at home or was hospitalized,” continued Dr. Hertko.
While it is unpredictable to determine how aggressive the influenza season will be each year, obtaining influenza vaccine will reduce the likelihood that someone will contract the flu. This same principle holds true for illnesses such as pneumonia, shingles and whooping cough. Vaccines to prevent and or lessen the severity of the illness are available. Dr. Hertko outlines some basic guidelines and essential information on each of these important vaccines.
Influenza Vaccine (Flu)
- Flu vaccines are designed to protect against three influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.
- It is import to get a flu vaccine each year. Each year there are small changes in the virus. This is one of the main reasons why people can get the flu more than one time.
- Influenza can occur at any time, but most influenza occurs from October through May. In recent years, most infections have occurred in January and February.
- All people 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. It’s especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia to get vaccinated. Medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, pregnant women, and people 65 years or older are at a higher susceptible rate.
- It can take up to two weeks after getting vaccine before the body can develop the antibodies to fight off the flu.
- The healthcare provider should be informed of any medical conditions such as food allergies, especially eggs. An allergic reaction to the influenza vaccine is rare.
- People who are ill should wait until they recover before getting the flu vaccine.
- The flu vaccine is also available in intradermal or nasal spray form.
- There are antiviral drugs available which can make the illness milder and help a person feel better faster.
Pneumonia Vaccine (adults)
- The pneumonia vaccine protects against13 of the most prevalent types of pneumonia.
- All adults ages 65 and older should vaccine. It is especially important for those adults who have a long-term health problem such as: heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid or cochlear implant.
- Any adult 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma should be vaccinated.
- The pneumonia vaccine can be given with other immunizations.
- In a clinical trial involving thousands of adults 60 years old or older, Zostavax reduced the risk of shingles by about half (51%) and the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia by 67%. While the vaccine was most effective in people 60-69 years old it also provided some protection for older groups.
- A single dose of the shingles vaccine is recommended for adults older than 60.
- The shingles vaccine is effective for at least six years..
Whooping cough (Tdap)
- The whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Both protect against whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP.
- Travelers should be up-to-date with recommended pertussis vaccinations before departure. Whooping cough — known medically as pertussis — is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. Although it initially resembles an ordinary cold, whooping cough may eventually turn more serious, particularly in infants. The best way to prevent it is through vaccinations.
About United Security Life and Health Insurance Company:
USL&H is a regional insurance carrier that offers a variety of Health and Life insurance products, as well as Disability Income, Critical Illness, Cancer, Accident Hospital Indemnity, and a Dental Plus Vision and Hearing product to individuals and families. Founded in 1973, USL&H is licensed to sell its products in Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri and Nebraska through a network of independent insurance agents. For more information on United Security Life and Health Insurance Company please visit the company’s website at http://www.uslandh.com.