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Health
A SHOT To Save Your Life
Jan 2014
Dr Sai Praveen Haranath
Consultant Pulmonologist & Intensivist Apollo Hospitals Hyderabad

The influenza vaccine has about 60-90 percent protection and every year a new form of the vaccine needs to be given. The H1N1 epidemic, when over 2000 died in India, has created awareness about the serious nature of this illness. In particular, individuals at high risk such as smokers, diabetics, those with lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma and anyone with low immunity, should get an annual influenza vaccine.

The WHO and the Government of India maintain up-to-date information on flu online. Likewise, a great website for reliable information is www.flu.gov. Their slogan reads: ‘It’s not too late to vaccinate!’

Another common lung infection is pneumonia. It causes fever, cough, phlegm and can lead to significant breathing difficulty in many people. Those with prior lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and low immunity among others are prone to infection. Pneumonia is often caused by a particular bacterium called Streptococcus pneumonia, for which fortunately there are vaccines. The pneumonia vaccine protects against certain subtypes of bacteria which are most invasive and can cause blood and brain infection (meningitis).

The widespread use of antibiotics without good reasons has created resistant bacteria and the primary reason to vaccinate could be to prevent infections in the first place and avoid antibiotics.