Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer patients at increased risk for severe flu complications

Date:
November 25, 2013
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
Weakened immune systems due to diseases like cancer cause increased risk of severe complications from the flu virus — experts advise vaccine shot, not mist.

It is often noted that very young people and the elderly are most at-risk for experiencing flu-related complications, and one expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says people with weakened immune systems due to diseases like cancer are also at an increased risk of severe complications from the virus.

"The flu shot is recommended annually for cancer patients, as it is the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications," said Mollie deShazo, M.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and medical director of UAB Inpatient Oncology. "The flu vaccine significantly lowers the risk of acquiring the flu; it is not 100 percent effective, but it is the best tool we have."

Flu activity in the United States is low, even after increasing slightly in recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, more activity is expected, and people who have not had a flu vaccine this year are advised to do so.

"It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot, but you can benefit even if you get the vaccine after the flu has arrived in your community," deShazo said.

The flu shot -- not the mist -- is safe and is recommended for people with cancer.

"Patients with cancer or who are undergoing chemotherapy should not get the flu mist because it contains live flu virus and could lead to complications in immunocompromised patients," deShazo said, adding:

• Cancer patients should avoid contact with anyone suspected of having the flu

• It is prudent to wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and water and avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible

• It is recommended that all caregivers and family members of cancer patients also get the flu vaccine to protect their loved ones

Once one is cancer-free, his or her risk lessens.

"The longer patients are cancer-free, the lower their influenza complication risk, until it is no more than the risk of those who've never had the disease," deShazo said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Cancer patients at increased risk for severe flu complications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125172021.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2013, November 25). Cancer patients at increased risk for severe flu complications. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125172021.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Cancer patients at increased risk for severe flu complications." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125172021.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins