November 2016 – It’s the beginning of flu season, and in order to avoid a high fever, severe aches, and a nasty cough, a flu shot could help patients lessen their symptoms or avoid them all together. Since the flu virus is always evolving, scientists are making important changes to how the vaccine is made.
Guide to the Flu
Influenza, or the flu, is a seasonal and very common illness. Each year the influenza virus evolves, making it difficult to prevent long-term. Therefore, it is recommended that you and your child get a flu vaccine each year during flu season at the beginning of fall.
Even though the symptoms are similar to the common cold, they can become severe enough to lead to other illnesses and even death. On average 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized due to the flu, with nearly 140 related pediatric deaths.
Tips for Preventing the Flu
There are a number of measures that the CDC recommends that you and your child should take to avoid getting and spreading the flu. These include:
Avoiding close contact- especially contact with those who are sick. When you are sick you should also avoid contact with others.
Staying home when you are sick- not only will this help prevent the spread of germs, but it will ensure that you don’t over-exert yourself if you are sick.
Covering your mouth and nose- sneezing and coughing are the easiest ways for viruses to spread. Cover your mouth if you are sick.
Keeping your hands clean- wash your hands often, not just when you use the restroom. You come into contact with a multitude of germs throughout the day, and if you’re out in public during flu season, there’s a good chance you’ll contract the flu.
Avoiding contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth. Even if you keep your hands clean, viruses easily enter the body through the orifices on your face.
Practicing healthy habits- make sure to disinfect surfaces that are commonly touched. For example, wipe down a shopping cart handle before using. Additionally, make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious food, and drink a enough fluids.
Make sure you teach these healthy habits to your child so when they are not by your side, they will help prevent the flu from spreading on their own.
Flu Season and Immunization
The flu season can start in October and last until May, but the bulk of flu cases happen between December and February. It is important to stay up-to-date in your area, as flu outbreaks happen at a local level.
Call Altamonte MD at (407) 767-0009 to schedule an appointment to get your flu immunization.
The flu shot is now available at Altamonte MD. The typical flu vaccine protects against what research indicates will be the most common viruses during the season, specifically Influenza A virus (H1N1 and H3N2) and a strand of Influenza B virus. Therefore, even if you get the vaccine, you may still get the flu virus, but a flu shot is the best preventative measure you can take.
Luckily, the flu for the most part is self-treatable. Eventually it with pass with plenty of rest, drinking fluids, and medication. Your body will fight the infection on its own.
Typically, a doctor will prescribe you or your child Tamiflu, Relenza or Peramivir injection if diagnosed with the flu. Call your pediatrician for questions about OTC medication to relieve flu symptoms.
Flu Shots in 2016/2017:
Major Changes to the Flu Shot in 2016
With continued research and data from previous flu seasons, scientists have made some important steps forward.
Only Injectable Shots are Recommended
Over the past several flu seasons, the nasal spray vaccinations did not offer sufficient protection against the main strains of the influenza virus. Because of this, it is recommended that only shots are administered.
Vaccines are Updated to Better Fight Circulating Viruses
Researchers have identified three of the most potentially prevalent forms of the flu virus for late 2016 and early 2017. Most vaccines will offer protection against:
- (H1N1) – A/California/7/2009 virus
- (H3N2) – A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 virus
- (B/ Victoria Lineage) – B/Brisbane/60/2008 virus
Different Recommendations for Those With Egg Allergies
For anyone with egg allergies, recommendations for administering the flu shot depends on symptoms suffered from the allergy. If only hives are experienced after exposure to egg, that person can receive the flu vaccine.
For anyone whose egg allergy causes angioedema (swelling of deep skin tissue,) difficulty breathing, or emergency intervention of any kind, a shot must be administered in a medical setting with a professional who is trained to recognize signs of allergic reaction and distress.
Who Needs a Flu Shot?
Everyone over six months old should get the a flu shot; but it is especially important for certain groups to get the shot:
- Pregnant Women. Pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu due to changes in their immune system. Since serious illness can lead to hospitalization or even premature labor, it is important to get a flu vaccination. Both mom and baby receive the benefits of the vaccine: both are protected even after delivery.
- Young Children. Even in healthy children, the unpredictable nature of the flu virus can cause serious illness. Approximately 77 children died from the flu last year, so it is recommended that children six months and older receive the vaccine. It should also be noted that children who are under five years old are especially susceptible.
- Older Adults. For those who are 65 or older, the immune system naturally weakens with age. This leaves seniors vulnerable to the effects of the flu virus. In fact, it is estimated that 71 to 85 percent of flu-related deaths occur in seniors.
In addition, anyone with the following conditions should receive a flu shot:
- Cystic Fibrosis
Flu Vaccination in Altamonte Springs, Florida
If you have any questions regarding the flu or flu shot, or if you would like to make an appointment, call (407) 767-0009 and talk to our providers.