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10/6/2014: Flu shot Season
It is that time of year again. The 2014-2015 annual influenza vaccine is available. Here is a bit of information about the “flu” and the “flu shot.”
Influenza “flu” infection:
Symptoms come on suddenly and may last several days. They can include:
Flu can make some people much sicker than others. This includes young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions – such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system. Flu vaccine is especially important for these individuals, and anyone in close contact with them.
Flu can also lead to pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children.
Each year thousands of people in the U.S. die from flu, and many more are hospitalized.
Influenza vaccine: There are two types of influenza vaccine:
Flu vaccine is recommended every year (as the virus strains can change and immune protection wanes). Children 6 months through 8 years of age should get two doses the first year they get vaccinated.
Flu viruses are always changing. Each year’s flu vaccine is made to protect from viruses that are most likely to cause disease that year. While flu vaccine cannot prevent all cases of flu, it is our best defense against the disease. Inactivated flu vaccine protects against 3 or 4 different influenza viruses.
It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination, and protection lasts several months to a year.
Some illnesses that are not caused by influenza virus are often mistaken for flu. Flu vaccine will not prevent these illnesses. It can only prevent influenza.
A “high-dose” flu vaccine is available for people 65 years of age and older.
A standard-dose "intradermal" flu vaccine, injected into the skin instead of the muscle using a much smaller needle, is approved for adults 18-64.
There are also "quadrivalent" vaccines that protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
Some inactivated flu vaccine contains a very small amount of a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal. Studies have shown that thimerosal in vaccines is not harmful, but flu vaccines that do not contain a preservative are available.
Some People should not get the flu vaccine.
Risk of a Vaccine Reaction
Mild problems following inactivated flu vaccine:
If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1 or 2 days.
Moderate problems following inactivated flu vaccine:
Severe problems following inactivated flu vaccine:
What if there is a serious reaction?
What should I look for?
What should I do?
How can I learn more?
Mosquitoes: how to prevent them from biting!
Flu shot Season
Asthma Treatment: Where does Singulair fit?
USAnaphylaxis™ Map: The STATEment on Life-Threatening Allergies at School
Beware of those exotic nuts!
These educational information does not take the place of your physician's advice.
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