Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Jessica Mays, RN
Porter Hills Home Care
Flu shots, who needs them? Actually, almost everyone does. Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu. If you are over 6 months of age and do not have a compromised immune system, you should get a flu shot.
It is estimated that between the 1976-1977 flu season and the 2006-2007 flu season there were anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths annually. Approximately 90% of the flu-related deaths were in people over the age of 65. The flu comes on suddenly and can last anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks.
Symptoms of the flu include:
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
You are contagious 1 day before you show symptoms of the flu and up to 7 days after your symptoms appear. You should stay away from others until you are fever free for 24 hours. It is thought that the flu virus spreads by droplets through coughing, sneezing and speaking. If you are infected with the flu, over the counter remedies can help with your symptoms and there is a prescription anti-viral you can take if you start it within the first 48 hours of symptoms appearing. The anti-viral will help lessen the severity and shorten the duration of your illness.
Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of viruses. Also remember to sanitize frequently used items such as phones, remote controls and door knobs. Avoid being around someone with flu-like symptoms or at least avoid close contact and don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. You should stay home if you are not feeling well. Remember to get your annual flu shot.
The flu vaccine works by causing the body to produce antibodies to the virus about 2 weeks after the injection. Contrary to what you may think, you cannot get the flu from the vaccine. There could be a few mild side effects from the flu shot. Those include; injection site redness, tenderness and swelling, low grade fever, achiness and generalized malaise which will all go away on their own.
Types of flu vaccine
There are several types of flu vaccines available for the season. The traditional trivalent vaccine protects against 2 Influenza A viruses and an Influenza B Virus, and it’s grown in eggs.
- The traditional trivalent vaccine is typically given by injection for most ages or by jet injector in people over 18 years of age.
- A high dose trivalent shot which is approved for individuals over the age of 65.
- A trivalent shot grown in cell culture approved for people over the age of 18.
- A recombinant shot that is egg free approved for people over the age of 18.
There is also a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against 2 Influenza A viruses and 2 Influenza B viruses.
- The quadrivalent vaccine shot, some approved for ages 6 months and up.
- An intradermal quadrivalent shot which is injected under the skin instead of the muscle and it’s approved for people 18 to 64 years of age.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends the nasal mist not be used for the 2016-2017 flu season based on poor or relatively lower effectiveness from 2013 -2016.
Talk to your doctor to see which of these vaccines is right for you. The time to get your flu shot is right now, late summer/fall, but it’s not too late even during the winter. Most flu activity occurs between October and May but in the United States, flu activity typically peaks in December through February.
Now is the time to get your flu shot for maximum protection.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu
Contact: Jan Amato at 616-340-8801 or firstname.lastname@example.org