It’s Flu Season Again!

Every year more than 200,000 people are admitted to the hospital due to influenza infection, while 12,000 to 50,000 people die due to influenza related cause.

Preventing the seasonal flu can be accomplished by taking the flu vaccine every year. This vaccine will induce the body to produce antibodies against the 4 different strains in the vaccine.

Here are some facts about the flu vaccine:

  • Universal vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older is recommended
  • People at high risk such babies from 6 months to 24 months, adults 65 years and older, pregnant women, American Indians and Alaskans, people with chronic conditions such asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, heart, kidney and liver disease, immunodeficiency and metabolic disorders are strongly advised to get the vaccine.
  • Get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available, and if at all possible by the end of October.
  • The flu vaccine is made differently each year based on the possible circulating viruses for the next season.
  • Flu vaccine should be given every year.
  • Flu vaccine decreases the chance of hospitalization by 60-75 %
  • Vaccinating pregnant women decreases their baby’s risk of flu infection substantially.
  • Sometimes the vaccine does not match the circulating seasonal flu virus however the antibodies will still work to some extent against the mismatched virus and it will make the disease milder.
  • The flu vaccine is safe and it does NOT cause autism.
  • The flu vaccine is safe to be administered at the same time as other vaccines.
  • The flu vaccine does not cause the flu since the injectable vaccine is made from an inactivated (killed) virus and the nasal spray (when available) is made from a weakened virus that cannot grow in the lungs.
  • Some side effects such as injection site soreness, swelling, low grade fever, headache and achiness could occur but usually are brief and mild.
  • People with mild egg allergies can get the vaccine with no concerns. People with severe egg allergies can also get vaccinated, however this should be done at the doctor’s office where can be monitored for possible allergic reaction.
  • The vaccine has a protection rate of 60-70%
  • This year only the shot is available.

Some simple things to remember:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Don’t rub your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
  • Eat well, stay well hydrated.
  • Cold medicines are worthless for the flu
  • Stay home if you suspect you have the flu
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