Getting Flu Shot Great Investment in Your Health?
When discussing the flu, "same old-same old" means over 40,000 people will die in this country of the flu this winter.
That's as many people as will likely get killed on U.S. highways this year. It would be nice to vaccinate against getting killed in a car crash, wouldn't it?
This influenza season is a particularly severe one, if present trends hold out. Most of the deaths will occur in the very old or very young, both of which are not easily vaccinated, because they can't drive or ask for the vaccine. They depend on us able-bodied people, known as "the herd" in public health vernacular.
The herd can dramatically influence the spread of disease like influenza. Part of this herd is the workers at an institution that care for the elderly, the sick or the very young. They pass in and out of the institution every day, sometimes bringing and sometimes taking home unwanted viral baggage.
The flu depends on finding its next susceptible victim to continue its relentless winter march.
We all briefly consider getting a flu shot each winter, according to our own private equation. We consider the media headlines, our health, our experience with the flu vaccine or the flu, and weigh in the cost of the vaccine in time and money.
This may all be largely subconscious, but ultimately pushes us toward or away from the vaccination opportunities. You either stop and do it or drive by. The health care providers of the world are grinding their teeth in frustration trying to influence your decision.
Medical types like to place every illness under the microscope. The Canadians, common sense people that they are, tried a different approach, looking at flu from across the street. Their study didn't even limit itself to influenza alone; they looked at winter respiratory illness in general.
The Canadian study included everything from the mildest chest cold to pneumonia, and everything in between. Influenza was part of that group.
During the study they gave the influenza vaccine to a large group and carefully observed for any respiratory illness. A more compulsive approach would be to count only lab-proven influenza, but that was not the Canadian way. Still, they generated some very interesting results.
Those who were vaccinated had 25 percent fewer respiratory illnesses than people who weren't. The vaccinated group had 43 percent fewer sick days that winter, 44 percent fewer doctor visits, and saved almost $47 per patient.
Those are some impressive numbers and being a doctor, I very much want to do influenza antibody tests of all those Canadians. But that isn't the point. The point is there seems to be a larger spectrum of influenza than we realize. Looking at doctor visits and sick days and all of that, a flu shot has measurable benefit for most people.
So you can get vaccinated because you are trying to keep the family healthy this winter, or because it's the right thing to do. You can also get vaccinated simply because it's a good investment in your health.
Donald Bucklin, MD (Dr. B) is a Regional Medical Director for U.S. HealthWorks and has been practicing clinical occupational medicine for more than 25 years. Dr. B. works in our Scottsdale, Arizona clinic.
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesBlind Attorney Becomes National AdvocateBlind from birth, Chris Danielson is director of public relations for the 50,000-member National Federation of the Blind
Rocklin Crime Report Digest Update (8-1-15)Weekly crime report digest report update from Rocklin PD
California Fires Update Summary (8.1.15)California Fire Updates 2015: Nearly 9,000 firefighters are battling 24 large fires across California
Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 IntroducedCongressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced legislation to address catastrophic wildfire and invasive species threats
Roseville Location for New Placer County Assessor's OfficeRoseville, CA - To better meet the needs of the public, the Placer County Assessor's Office is pleased to announce the opening of its newest office, located at 10810 Justice Center Drive
California Fires Update Summary (7.31.15)California Fire Updates 2015: Today, 8,000 firefighters are battling 18 large wildfires in California, including several that are on the National Forest and nearing full containment.
Placer Valley Sports Complex: Who's Designing It?Placer Valley Sports Complex, Inc. has reached its first major milestone in the building and development of its brand new, state-of-the-art Regional Sports Complex in Roseville.
25 Year Old Arrested as Arson SuspectThe Placer County Sheriff's Office arrested David Petrashishen, 25 for arson following Sunday's fire in Elverta.
California Statewide Fire Summary (7.30.15)California Fire Updates 2015: Yesterday afternoon and evening fire activity in Northern California significantly increased as temperatures hit the triple digits and the winds became very gusty.
Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (7.30.15)Roseville, CA - Weekly crime report digest update for Roseville, July 30, 2015.
State Moonlights as SlumlordIf a recent study to determine the safety of 29 state-owned buildings tells us anything, it's that the state is a terrible landlord
Community Foundations Fund Senior Nutrition ProgramsAuburn, CA - Thanks to additional funding, Seniors First will soon expand a program established to provide homebound seniors with hot meals and daily social interaction
NEWS: In Case You Missed It