It takes a few months to make the flu vaccine. So whatever part of the world is anticipating the flu, three to four months before it hits, a vaccine is made with whatever changes have come into place to that point.
New York, NY (PRWEB) October 20, 2010
Did you know that as the flu virus travels around the world, following the local flu season, it is constantly mutating? Lawrence Kempf M.D., a New York City internist, says the virus changes about 5.5 million times a day, which means it’s not a perfect science when it comes to the seasonal flu vaccine.
“It takes a few months to make the flu vaccine,” Dr. Kempf explains. “So whatever part of the world is anticipating the flu, three to four months before it hits, a vaccine is made with whatever changes have come into place to that point.”
Even in years when the flu shot is well matched to circulating flu viruses, the CDC estimates the vaccine is still only 70 to 90 percent effective in people younger than 65; and it’s only 30 to 70 percent effective in those who are older and most at risk because they generally have weakened immune systems. About 200,000 people are hospitalized each year due to complications from the flu, and 36,000 people die.
Should you forego the flu shot? Dr. Kempf says “No,” but there is a way to enhance the efficacy of the flu shot. Dr. Kempf recently worked on a new clinical study from Michigan State University showing that a supplement, active hexose correlated compound, also known as AHCC, which is extracted from Japanese medicinal mushrooms, enhances the power of the seasonal flu shot, making it more effective against this potentially deadly virus. In Japan, AHCC is recognized to be such a highly effective immune supplement that it is used in some hospitals as a part of a standard immune-supporting regimen for all incoming patients to reduce the incidence of hospital-borne infections. AHCC is also used as an immunotherapy in more than 1,000 clinics worldwide and has been proven safe and effective in more than 50 human clinical trials.
“By getting the flu vaccine you will probably prevent dying from the flu if you were exposed to and it will probably be slightly less intense if you get it, but it’s not a guarantee that you won’t get the flu,” says Dr. Kempf, who has been recommending AHCC to his patients for more than a decade. “AHCC may prevent you from getting flu; it also lessens the duration and severity of the flu if you get it.”