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Flu Vaccine Information

Influenza or “the flu,” is a highly contagious  respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus.  The symptoms  include fevers, chills, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough and body aches.  The illness can be mild or more severe, and even result in death. Influenza is most dangerous in children younger than five years of age, the elderly,  immunocompromised patients, pregnant women and those with other medical conditions such as asthma.  School age children may get  mild to moderate flu symptoms but spread it to these high risk groups. Most of the people who die from influenza are older than 65 but last year almost 150 children died from the flu.

We recommend an annual influenza vaccine for everyone older than six months of age.  The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that “the single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season.”  For the strongest protection, the vaccine should be given before influenza develops in the community.  Children aged six months through eight years need two doses of the vaccine during their first vaccination season for optimal immune response.  After that, yearly vaccination is sufficient.

Available Influenza Vaccines in our office:  (you cannot get the flu from either type)

1.  The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) and is given with a needle.  The most common side effects are soreness and redness at the injection site  Less common side effects include muscle aches and low grade fever.

2.  NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE 2016-2017 SEASON: The Flumist or nasal-spray flu vaccine is made with live, weakened flu viruses which can grow in the lining of the nose but not in the lungs.  The most common side effects include runny nose or congestion. This vaccine should be given to healthy, non-pregnant 2-49 year olds.  The CDC has NOT recommended giving the nasal spray flu vaccine to children during the 2016-2017 season.  Please see http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/s0622-laiv-flu.html for more information.

After getting the influenza vaccine, other strategies to prevent the flu:
1.  Wash your hands often with warm water and soap, especially after sneezing or coughing.

2.  Teach your children to cover their nose and mouth with sneezing or coughing.

3.  Avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick.

4.  If you or your child get sick with the flu or other illness, stay home and away from others until 24 hours after your fever is gone.

For references and further information about the flu and flu vaccines, please visit: www.cdc.gov/flu or www.ongove.net/health.

 

 

 

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