Abstracts in Urgent Care – March 2018

Confirmed Flu Ups Short-Term Risk for MI Key point:  Patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza are almost six times more likely to be admitted for acute myocardial infarction (MI) in the following 7 days. Citation: Kwong JC, Schwartz KL, Campitelli MA, et al. Acute myocardial infarction after laboratory-confirmed influenza infection. N Engl J Med. 2018;378(4):345-353. Results of a cohort study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza were almost six …

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A Snapshot of Flu Vaccination Rates

The ongoing 2017–18 flu season is already one of the worst in recent memory. Recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may offer a clue as to one reason: Based on a complete study of the 2016–17 season, the CDC conjectures that influenza immunization rates may have plateaued. During that most recently completed season, just 46.8% of patients age 6 months or older got a flu shot—an increase of just 1.2% …

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Don’t Celebrate the ‘End’ of Flu Season Before the Second Act

Don’t Celebrate the ‘End’ of Flu Season Before the Second Act

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have spoken too soon when it declared the 2017–2018 influenza season to be on the wane. Now the agency says cases are mounting—though right now it’s influenza B, not the H3N2, A strain that is both more severe and less receptive to vaccines. In fact, with the week ending March 17 influenza B has usurped influenza A as the most dominant strain of the moment. It’s not …

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In the Midst of a Bad Season, CDC Reverses Course on Nasal Flu Vaccine—for Next Year

In the Midst of a Bad Season, CDC Reverses Course on Nasal Flu Vaccine—for Next Year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended use of the FluMist Quadrivalent nasal spray influenza vaccine in the next influenza season. Starting 2 years ago, healthcare providers have been urged to not use that vaccine because the CDC said there was a lack of efficacy in preventing influenza. However, the new ACIP recommendation comes on the heals of a U.S. study in young children that found vaccines …

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Prepare Yourself and Your Staff: CDC Extends Projected Flu Season

Prepare Yourself and Your Staff: CDC Extends Projected Flu Season

The 2017–2018 influenza season doesn’t just seem long, thanks to the high volume of cases—and deaths—this year; it’s actually going to last longer than usual, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, the CDC says flu season hasn’t even peaked yet; flu activity continues to be widespread in every state except Hawaii and has remained unchanged for 3 weeks—and indicator that the natural wane is still ahead of us. Nearly 12,000 …

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Dangerous Fake News Story Spreads Flu Misinformation on Social Media

Dangerous Fake News Story Spreads Flu Misinformation on Social Media

Fake news has been lamented, scorned, or poked fun at for various reasons and from various political perspectives for the past year, but right now a fake news story circulating on social media could put lives in danger. First appearing on Facebook, the “article” falsely claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that influenza vaccine has been responsible for many deaths attributed to flu this year. The myth-busting website Snopes debunked the …

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Come October, Come the Flu

On paper, flu season starts next month, meaning it’s an ideal time to start reminding patients they’ll need flu shots (and that you’ll be happy to provide one). While the majority of children tend to get their shots toward the end of the season according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the distribution has been more evenly distributed for adults over the past few flu seasons, as seen in Figure 1, below. The …

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February is Shaping Up to Be ‘Norovirus Month’

February is Shaping Up to Be ‘Norovirus Month’

While the country is locked in its annual battle against influenza, a second “bug” is creeping up and taking its toll on schools and workplaces, as well. Like the flu, norovirus picks up steam in the winter months and is especially hard—sometimes deadly—on seniors and young children. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts February will be the peak month for infection, which is characterized by intense gastrological symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, …

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Flu is Rampaging Through Oregon, Filling Hospitals

Flu is Rampaging Through Oregon, Filling Hospitals

Hospitalizations for influenza are up 66% over the same period last year in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority. They’re not just coming in through the emergency room, either; one clinician says his hospital’s urgent care and family practices departments, in addition to the ED, are all packed with flu patients. The spike in cases has put pressure on all practice settings, prompting the Health Authority to step up its efforts to promote flu …

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CDC Warned Us—Now the Late Season Flu Spike Is Here

CDC Warned Us—Now the Late Season Flu Spike Is Here

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s warnings that the 2015–2016 might end up being late, and not just light, are coming to fruition from coast to coast—with deadly consequences for some. New data highlight the need for urgent care providers to continue pushing flu shots and to be prepared for more patients with flu-like symptoms. Current flu activity has been called “widespread” in 37 states, with physician visits for flu-like symptoms continuing to rise; …

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