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HHS HealthBeat (October 10, 2012)

Not spreading the flu

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Use the Flu Vaccine Finder

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Nobody plans to spread the flu, but lots of us do anyway. One reason is that people are infectious literally before they know it. At the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center – its research hospital – infectious disease specialist Tara Palmore tells how easy it is, even if you’re otherwise healthy:

“Most healthy adults can infect others one day before symptoms develop. Even if they stay home when they get sick, they may have already transmitted influenza.”

That’s why all Clinical Center employees who work with patients are required to get immunized, and why other people should as well.

Dr. Palmore notes that, for people ages 65 and older, there’s a higher dose vaccine to help stimulate the immune response that normally weakens as people age.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: October 10, 2012