'Tis the season to think about flu shots
Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com
Considering a flu vaccine for you or your kids? There's a lot you need to know, especially this year. Nurse Monica Cavazos joined Good Morning Idaho to talk about what's new, who should get vaccinated, and why it's so important.
Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?
Cavazos says, "Influenza can be a very serious illness. It can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks with symptoms ranging from sore throat, cough, headache and fever to having to miss school or work. Sometimes people become severely ill which could to hospitalizations, secondary infections such as pneumonia and even death. It can affect anyone, including usually healthy people."
What kinds of flu vaccines are available?
"There are two kinds: injectable flu vaccines and the nasal spray flu vaccine, neither of which causes the flu. Each vaccine is approved for different ages and medical conditions. The message is that there is a flu vaccine for everyone, whether you’re over 65, an infant, pregnant, terrified of needles, there’s a product for you."
Some vaccines have 4 strains and some have 3 strains. What is the difference?
"Historically influenza vaccines have contained 3 strains of what they anticipate will be the circulating viruses; two A strains and one B strain. The A strain is usually the most common and most severe, although, there have been years where the B strain is the most common and severe. For the first time, some manufacturers were able to include 4 strains in their influenza product, two A strains and one B strain. So this should offer more protection. Having said that, not all manufacturers were able to get on board to manufacture product for this season. ALL nasal spray products contain 4 strains but only some of the injectable products contain 4 strains, with most covering 3 strains. Only 1/3 of all the flu vaccines in the US have 4 strains this season. This will likely change in the next year or two. What’s important to note is that the CDC recommends we get vaccinated as soon as vaccine is available in the community without regard to which product. The best protection is just to get vaccinated."
Who should get vaccinated this season?
"For the last several years the CDC has recommended that every person 6 months of age and older should receive an annual influenza vaccine. However, there are groups that are at higher risk of the complications from influenza, such as children under 5 years of age, pregnant women, people over 65 years of age. Also those with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, people with cancer as well as their family members or people in close contact. All in all, the more people that get vaccinated, the less influenza is able to spread through the community."