What is the flu shot?
“The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. It contains three seasonal influenza viruses that are grown in eggs. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and an influenza B virus.” (www.cdc.gov) The seasonal flu vaccine generally becomes available in late summer or early fall, before the start of flu season. It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot. (www.mayoclinic.com) “Receiving the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in preventing the flu and decreasing the risk of severe flu-related illnesses,” said County Councilman Tom McGarrigle. “Each year, in the United States, 200,000 people are hospitalized due to complications from the flu and 36,000 people due from the flu and related complications. We want to ensure that Delaware County residents stay healthy.” Flu shot locations in Glen Mills, Delaware County: Walgreens ($31.99, insurance acepted), Acme Savon ($28.89, insurance accepted), CVS ($29.99, insurance accepted)
Is there more than one type of flu shot available?
Yes. There are three different flu shots available.(www.cdc.gov)
- The regular seasonal flu shot is intramuscular, (into muscle), usually in the upper arm.
- The high-dose vaccine is for people 65 and older which also is intramuscular. This vaccine was first made available during the 2010-2011 season.
- The intradermal vaccine is for people 18 to 64 years of age which is injected with a needle into the “dermis” or skin. This vaccine is being made available for the first time for the 2011-2012 season.
- Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine is an option for healthy persons aged 2 through 49 years who are not pregnant.
Should everyone get a flu shot?
Everyone 6 months and older is recommended to get a flu vaccine each year. “This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010 when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the U.S. to expand protection against the flu to more people” www.cdc.gov. There are ‘at risk’ people who may develop serious flu-related complications.
Who is at high risk?
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Pregnant women
- People who have medical conditions such as:
- Asthma ( controlled or mild)
- Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids) cdc.com
- People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- People who are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index [BMI] of 40 or greater)
- For a complete list see www.cdc.gov
Talk with a doctor before getting a flu shot if you: (mayo clinic)
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs
- Have ever had a serious reaction to a previous flu shot
- If you are sick with a fever when you go to get your flu shot, you should talk to your doctor or nurse about getting your shot at a later date. If you have a respiratory illness without fever or if you have another mild illness you can still get the flu shot.
It depends on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine. Also, it depends on the viruses or virus in circulation in your area.
Risks from getting a flu shot?
The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Although some side effects can occur.
Possible side effects?(health.howstuffworks.com)
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Fever (low grade)
- Toughness and itching where the shot was given
Life-threatening allergic reactions are very rare. Signs of serious allergic reaction can include breathing problems, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness. Call a doctor, or get to a doctor right away and ask them to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form, or call VAERS at 1-800-822-7967.(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
People can get a flu vaccine and still get sick with flu-like symptoms
There are several reasons why:
- People may be exposed to an influenza virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated.
- People may become sick from other non-flu viruses that circulate during the flu season.
- A person may be exposed to an influenza virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine.
Vaccination can lessen illness severity and is particularly important for people at high risk for serious flu-related complications and for close contacts of high-risk people.
Do Your Homework
In order to make an informed decision of whether or not to get the flu shot, it is of utmost importance to do your homework. Do your research of the safety issues surrounding the flu vaccination and then learn the preventative measures against getting the flu in the first place.