Short and Sweet: A Ten Step Program

October 21, 2014

This column is “Short and Sweet!” Follow these ten steps to prevent flu, flu-like illness and colds this winter.

Step 1: Get a flu immunization!

Step 2: Wash your hands often. If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer, which will remove germs, but not visible dirt.

Step 3: Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Step 4: After you use a tissue, discard of it properly in the trash.

Step 5: Do not to put your fingers in your mouth, nose or eyes or touch your face with dirty hands.

Step 6: Clean and disinfect frequently shared surfaces.

Step 7: Stay home when you are sick.

Step 8: Do not visit other who are sick with flu-like illnesses.

Step 9: Take care of yourself: eat a variety of healthy foods, drink lots of water, get you sleep and some exercise.

Step 10: Get a flu immunization!

QVHD recently received a call from a senior resident who wondered what flu immunization was best for seniors. A previous column discussed the many forms that flu immunizations come in and is summarized below. It certainly can be confusing to know which one you should get. But the bottom line: get whichever one is available to you (as long as it is age and allergy-appropriate.) Do not wait for a specific formulation or you may miss out altogether!

  • There is a trivalent and a quadrivalent preparation of flu immunizations. The trivalent protects against 3 strains of flu expected to circulate in the flu season and the quadrivalent protects against 4 strains. At this time, both vaccines being produced and administered. The quadrivalent is relatively new. Traditionally flu vaccinations were all trivalent. Perhaps in future years, all flu immunizations will contain 4 strains.
  • The nasal preparation should only be administered to persons between the ages of 2 and 49 who are healthy and not pregnant.
  •  The intradermal (short needle preparation place under the skin instead of into the muscle) may be used only in adults 18-64 years of age.
  •  Fluzone High-Dose, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, Inc., is designed specifically for people 65 years and older. Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu immunizations.
  •  Flublok is intended for use in persons between the ages of 18 and 49. It is a good choice for people who have severe allergy to eggs as it does not chicken eggs to be produced.
  •  Neither the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) nor the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have expressed a preference of one vaccine form over another.   They do, however, advise that the guidelines and recommendations for the administration of each preparation must be followed.

Still confused? District residents (Bethany, Hamden, North Haven and Woodbridge) can call QVHD, 203 248-4528 or contact us by email, dculligan@qvhd.org. Follow the 10-step program and get your flu immunization! If not for yourself, do it for those around you.