Seasonal Influenza (Flu)

There are currently no flu clinics scheduled. Please check back here in the fall.

Who Should Get a flu Shot?

EVERYONE six months or older should get an annual flu shot.  Adults need one seasonal flu shot per year.  Children will need one or two shots, depending upon their age and vaccination status.

Why Should I Get a Flu Shot?  I'm Not High-Risk!

People in high-risk groups usually know that they should get a flu shot.  But many persons do not think they should get a flu shot because they are not in one of the high-risk groups.  Getting a flu shot not only protects you, but it protects those around you! This includes elderly persons you may visit, infants who are too young to get flu shots and your co-workers. The more people who are immunized, the less chance the flu germs have to find a host to grow and survive. Immunizing as many people as possible creates a “herd immunity,” allowing fewer flu germs to circulate in the community. Please consider a flu shot, if not for your own protection, for those around you.

Many forms of Flu Vaccines

As flu vaccination programs have evolved and recommendations for vaccination have expanded, several   options for flu vaccination have been developed. All preparations contain the same strains of flu “germs.” The selection of the strains is decided by the Centers for Disease Control, and is based upon which flu germs are expected to circulate in the season.

Preparations include:

Traditional injectable vaccine: The vaccine is delivered by a “shot” into the deltoid muscle of the arm in adults and the thigh for infants and young children.  Any age person over 6 months old can receive this preparation. Some preparations contain preservatives and some do not.

Nasal mist preparation: This preparation is not being used in the 2016-17 season. 

Intradermal: This preparation delivers the vaccine via a very tiny needle just under the skin instead of into the muscle. It is for use in persons age 18 to 64 years old.

High dose:  This preparation is for use in those adults age 65 and older. It contains a higher amount of the flu strains than the other preparations. Older adults do not always get the desired immune response from the traditional injectable vaccine because the immune system weakens as people age. This preparation is anticipated to boost the immune response.

Egg-free: This is a new preparation of the flu vaccine. It was first used by the general public in February, 2013. It is made without using eggs, so that people with severe egg allergy will be able to receive the flu vaccine (which is traditionally made using eggs for the growth of the vaccine components.)

All forms of the vaccine provide protection against the flu germs that are expected to circulate in the season.

Requirement For Day Care Attendees And Preschool Settings Located In A Public School

Connecticut law requires that all children aged 6 to 59 months who attend a licensed child day care center must be vaccinated against influenza between August 1st and December 31st of each  year they are attending. This requirement has been expanded to preschool settings located in a CT public school; all children aged 24-59 months, in such a program must be vaccinated for influenza between August 1 and  December 31st of the each year that they attend. Religious and medical exemptions  are allowed. Forms can be found at http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3136&q=388416

Preventing Flu and Flu-Link Illnesses

“Through behavior, individuals can have a potentially big impact on a flu season's severity.”
(Statement made at a 2009 summit held by the President's Council of Advisors on Science.)

There are basic behaviors that everyone can take (and teach children) that can reduce the spread of flu and flu-like illness.

  • Use respiratory etiquette. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze with a tissue. (If a tissue is unavailable, at least try to cough into your sleeve.) Dispose of used tissues in a trash can.
  • Wash your hands frequently and properly with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. This is one of the most important actions you can take to prevent the spread of illnesses in yourself and others. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective for removing germs (but not dirt.)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs find entry and spread this way. 
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness (defined as a fever of 100 degrees or higher and a cough or sore throat) stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. The rest of the office or your child's school does not want your germs.
  • Try to avoid people who are ill if you can.
  • Don't go visiting when you are sick . Your intentions may be good in wanting to make that visit to the nursing home. But if you are sick, you will be bringing germs into an environment where people are more vulnerable to illness.

If you have a medical condition or if a viral illness that doesn't show signs of improvement within a few days, it is a good idea to check with your health care provider if you have an influenza-like illness. This is especially true if the illness is accompanied by a high fever, unusual symptoms, difficulty breathing, moderate pain or other severe symptoms. While most people recover without complications from the garden-variety viral illness, others may develop complications such as sinusitis or pneumonia.