Here’s what we know about influenza and the influenza vaccine:
Despite this, many people still choose not to get the influenza vaccine every year.
Increasing evidence suggests other potential benefits to getting the influenza vaccine:
Patients who have or are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease are at increased risk of suffering complications from influenza. In fact, influenza infection has been shown to be a risk factor for both fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events, such as atherosclerosis (a hardening of the arteries). Recent studies have suggested that these patients are not only less likely to get influenza following vaccination; they are also less likely to suffer a heart-related event than unvaccinated patients with heart problems. While these findings are exciting, additional studies need to confirm these results.
Many studies have shown that influenza immunizations prevent mothers from getting influenza during pregnancy. However, studies have also shown that newborns of mothers who were immunized against influenza also benefit from immunization. While further studies are needed, current understanding is that babies of immunized mothers are less likely to be infected with influenza, less likely to be born prematurely, and less likely to be of low birth weight.
Many people live with pneumococcal bacteria in their nose and throat without getting sick. However, if their mucous membranes are compromised because of an infection, such as influenza, the bacteria can cause an infection, such as pneumonia. Pneumonia as a result of influenza infection is one of the most severe complications of influenza; however, a recent study found that vaccinated children and adults were less likely to get pneumonia or be hospitalized with pneumonia when compared with unvaccinated people. Because this is a preliminary study, other studies must be completed to confirm the results.
Although these studies need to be confirmed, they suggest that the influenza vaccine may do more than prevent influenza especially in some high-risk groups — something else to consider when thinking about getting the influenza vaccine.
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