Monthly Archives: February 2017

Should You Get the Flu Vaccine?

If you have ever caught the Flu, you’re well aware of the misery it brings. And although it’s one of the most important annual vaccinations everyone should get, many still neglect to get the influenza shot. Each year another flu vaccine is produced, which aims to combat new strains of the virus. According to one family doctor soldotna ak residents that don’t get the flu vaccine could succumb to headaches and backaches, muscle pain, chills, an irritating cough, and high fevers. The entire body reacts in some way to the flu.

The good news is that most healthy people survive the flu. If the body’s own defenses stand up to the flu, then the flu will be over after about five to seven days. However, flu patients are often left experiencing a cough and exhaustion for a bit longer.

Flu Vaccines Are Nothing to Fear

Even with all the news reports of how bad the flu can become, people still neglect to protect themselves. In part, what bothers people is the very nature of the vaccine. There are two types of flu vaccine you can get: an injection containing the inactive virus and a nasal spray containing live virus, but much weaker. Spray side effects may include runny nose or sore throat. But the injection is not like, some others in which what you get a tiny amount of the infection to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. The virus involved in the anti-influenza vaccine is alive but has been attenuated during production, and the vaccine is tested to make sure it is no longer virulent. And as for any side effects, the most typical complaint is a bit of pain at the site of the injection.

So Why Do Vaccinated People Still Catch the Flu?

Immunity against the virus takes two weeks to develop, so they may have contracted influenza just before or after the injection. As for a small set of other people whom catch the flu after vaccination, this has more to do with different strains of the virus. Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) selects three viruses that it believes will be the most likely to circulate during the winter, and then vaccine production begins. But this is only an informed prediction about the strains, but there is always the possibility that the virus that attacks is not one of those three. That’s also why doctors say the flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective. It is riskier not to get the vaccine, especially for those over the age of 65, or those with a compromised immune system. Each year the elderly or chronically ill patients should be vaccinated early before the flu season starts.

Keep in mind, catching the flu can bring about other complications, like pneumonia and ear infections. And for a person that already has a compromised immune system, the flu can chronically impact their health. It makes more sense to get the vaccination for precautionary measures than to gamble with your health.…

Alternative Treatments That Can Lead to Longer Life

Americans are living longer. A United Nations report shows that there has been a 5% rise in those aged 65 and older in the past five years and that this percentage increase will continue through the year 2020. The trend is to eat better, exercise more regularly, and remain active in order to lead a healthy life. At the same time, medical research is making great strides forward, there is a greater focus on national healthcare, and most individuals operate with an increased reliance on technology.

Now people are using the web for most daily business including looking for healthy recipes and there is a proliferation of APPs to help us track physical activity and calories. Physicians use the new technology to design treatment procedures that were far too risky to perform just a few years ago. All of these factors contribute to longevity, but we are not invincible yet.

There are still too many diseases which threaten our existence and the search for cures is ongoing as new problems arise. Two of society’s main health risks are Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Disease) and Cancer. These are the leading causes of death in the United States. The good news is that researches are continually learning about these diseases and developing more effective ways to treat them. For example, many cancers have been typically treated with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

But these techniques cannot be used with all cancers and have numerous negative side effects. As alternatives, the medical industry is now turning to targeted therapies like precision medications, immunotherapies, or minimally invasive surgical procedures. The new medications are designed to seek out and destroy only the cancer cells without weakening other healthy cells. The immunotherapies strengthen and re-energize the body’s own immune system so that it can kill the cancer cells. Finally, procedures like nanoknife cancer surgery allow surgeons to attack cancer cells that were at one time inoperable. The nanoknife sends electrical impulses through the cells to totally break them down while doing no damage to nearby organs or healthy cells.

Similarly, with heart disease, there are a handful of new approaches that are safer and just as effective as the older more invasive treatments. In 2011, the first transcatheter aortic valve (TAVR) was used as a replacement for a diseased valve. This device was initially approved by the FDA for patients who were not healthy enough for traditional open-heart surgery but it is now a part of the medical mainstream. A new drug called Paradigm-HF is now used to treat congestive heart failure while the PSCK9 inhibitor is being used in place of statins to drastically reduce high cholesterol.

The message is that even though there are more threats to overall health, we seem to be navigating these waters in a much more effective way than our ancestors. We have many more resources at our disposal and much more support from the medical community. If scientists continue to move in these creative ways, we may witness cures for these diseases rather than just alternative treatments.