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IM&PC Cares – Flu vaccines: Not perfect, but worth it!

Flu vaccines The young and the elderly are at greater risk with influenza.

It’s time! Flu vaccines are now readily available for those 6 months old and above and are recommended for everyone to take.

I get several questions regarding Flu vaccines each year. I’ll address them here :

1. Is it too early for the Flu shot?

No. The goal is to have everyone vaccinated by the end of October. Peak Flu season is November-January. This will give your immune system time to “ramp” up and provide protection.

2. I have an egg allergy/sensitivity and I’ve been told never to take the Flu shot. Is it safe?

This year, the recommendation is the Flu shot is SAFE FOR ALL. Those with egg allergy/sensitivity are no more likely to have a reaction than those who do not. The only ones who should not take the shot are those who have had a life-threatening reaction to the Flu vaccines before or those who contracted the rare disease Gillean-Barre Syndrome from the Flu shot.

3. Is the nasal vaccine available this year?

No. Only the injectable vaccine is recommended. It seemed that those who received the nasal vaccine where not as well protected from Flu A in years past as those who received the shot.

4. I received the Flu shot and I got sick anyway!

The Flu vaccine is not 100% effective. It is the best protection we have against the Flu. Most years, it is between 50-59% effective at preventing the Flu. You cannot get the Flu from the shot. However, if you have been exposed to a strain of the Flu not contained in the shot or if you were exposed to the flu in the 5-7 days before the shot, you will likely be sick!

5. If I contract the Flu despite having the flu shot, will I have a lighter case?  

Possibly.  The body may be able to more quickly mount an immune response if it recognizes a similar virus that resembles the virus that is in the Flu vaccine.

6. Can I get the Flu shot if I am sick?

It is safe to receive the shot if you have a simple cold or upper respiratory infection. If you have a fever, then it may be best to wait until you feel better and the fever has resolved.

What’s to Loose?
The Flu shot is safe. It is most often covered by insurance without a copay or deductible. On the other hand, missing work, kids missing school, and paying upwards of $100 for the Flu medicine on some insurances, is food for thought as reasons to get the Flu Shot despite its 50% effectiveness.

Those who are young and elderly are at greatest risk of having complications from the Flu.

One Hundred children will die from the Flu this season; most of them will not have been immunized.

Not sure if it’s cold or flu? Check the Symptom Chart on an earlier post.

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