This has come as bad news for young children, adults, and teens, who have been dealing with Flu season in the United States. Researchers have found out that excess weight and obesity can weaken the effects of flu vaccines. Obesity affects more than two-thirds of the US population, which can make flu shots less effective. The scientists are trying to develop a better flu vaccine to minimize the risk of a flu pandemic in the future. This issue was highlighted during the 2009 flu epidemic, which was the first major flu outbreak of the 21st century. Health professionals witnessed that the flu took a toll on people who were overweight.
Scientists said that the flu showed higher and deeper growth in the lungs of people who were overweight during the outbreak. They were not just sick but they contributed to amplifying the flu pandemic. The study has shown that children who are overweight exhale a larger volume of the flu virus through breathes, which proves that obese people transmit the disease faster than average-weight people. Flu vaccines have not been working too well on obese people due to their weaker immune system. As per the study, the metabolism of people who are overweight keeps fluctuating, which affects various cells including immune system cells. Stacey Schultz Cherry, a specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is working with the National Institutes of Health to develop a new flu vaccine. Creating a new vaccine might take years to be available for people.
The study states that elderly people are also at higher risk of catching flu despite being vaccinated, as their T cells do not respond properly. An improvement in flu shots might be beneficial for both old and young people who are dealing with excessive weight. The research also highlights that people of all body types are at higher risks of heart attack or stroke if they are infected with flu. Experts have advised that everybody should continue to take existing flu shots to avoid infection until the new generation vaccines come out.