Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Information
FLU SHOTS ARE THE BEST PROTECTION AVAILABLE FOR FIGHTING THE FLU
WHO SHOULD GET A FLU SHOT? The recommendation is for an annual flu shot for EVERYONE six months or older.
Where can you find a flu shot in your community? Visit http://flushot.healthmap.org/
Which flu vaccine is best for me? Visit http://flushot.healthmap.org/recommendations/ (this website will also link you to finding where flu shots are being administered.
Websites where you can find additional information about the flu:
THERE ARE MANY FORMS OF FLU IMMUNIZATIONS
Three-component (trivalent) formulations, four-component (quadrivalent) formulations, high dose preparations, injectable regular-length needle, intradermal short needle, standard preparation, egg-free preparation, nasal preparation….there are many ways to get a flu immunization! However, regardless of the preparation or method of delivery, the bottom line is the same: Everyone six months and older should get an annual flu shot.
CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu, however, neither CDC nor ACIP is expressing a preference of one vaccine over another at this time. They do, however, advise that the guidelines and recommendations for the administration of each preparation must be followed. For example, 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 shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibody) in the person getting the vaccine. Flublok was introduced last year for use in persons between the ages of 18 and 49. It is manufactured differently than traditional flu vaccines as it does not require chicken eggs to be produced. It can therefore be manufactured more quickly, but does have a shorter shelf life than other preparations. It is a good choice for people with severe allergy to eggs.
The many “faces” of vaccination may seem confusing but your health care provider (or agency that provides the vaccine) should know what preparation you can or should receive. The choice of product will also be dependent on what preparations are available. The CDC notes that most of the vaccine that will be available for the public will be the three-component (trivalent) injectable preparation. Most of the nasal preparation will be the four-component (quadrivalent) however; the nasal preparation makes up only a small portion of the flu vaccines produced.
While a flu shot is not a 100% guarantee that you will not get the flu this season, it is a safe, inexpensive and an effective method to reduce your chances of getting the flu. Please consider vaccination this season. Not only do you protect your own health, but you protect the health of those most vulnerable to complications from the flu.
IS THERE MEDICINE TO TREAT FLU?
Medicines, called antivirals, can treat flu illness. They can make people feel better and get better sooner. They may prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death. These drugs are different from antibiotics, but like antibiotics, they also need to be prescribed by a doctor. They work best when started during the first 2 days of illness. It is very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat flu in people who are very sick, such as people who are in the hospital or people who are at greater risk of having serious flu complications.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANTIVIRALS FOR FLU, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/antivirals/whatyoushould.htm
THERE ARE ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF FLU
Take 5: Behaviors to reduce the spread of flu and flu-like illness [UPLOAD PDF]