When Not To Get Your Flu Shot
Every year, up to 49,000 Americans die from the flu or from complications with the illnessand every year, flu vaccination reduces the risk by between 40% and 60%, according to the American Lung Association.
That’s why the flu shot is so important. However, there are certain times when a flu shot may be more dangerous to you than the illness itself.
While most doctors urge patients to get their flu shots each yearyou’ll want to get yours before the end of October it takes two weeks to kick ineven they agree that there are certain situations when you should avoid or postpone your shot. Find out if you’re safe to get stuck this year or if you should sit this one out. And to ensure your house is safe for you and the entire family, don’t miss this essential list of 100 Ways Your Home Could be Making You Sick.
Managing Side Effects After Immunisation
Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary . Specific treatment is not usually required. There are several treatment options that can reduce the side effects of the vaccine including:
- Drinking extra fluids and not overdressing if there is a fever.
- Although routine use of paracetamol after vaccination is not recommended, if pain and fever are present, paracetamol can be given check the label for the correct dose or speak with your pharmacist .
When To Get A Flu Shot
Since the timing of the onset, peak, and end of flu season changes from year to year and cannot be predicted, it is difficult to pinpoint the best time for getting vaccinated.
For people taking these or other drugs that suppress the immune system, the optimum time to receive a flu shot is from October to mid-November.
Flu shots are generally available in early September. The flu shot should be scheduled well before the flu season starts to get busy because it can take one to two weeks for the shot to take effect.
Flu activity usually peaks between December and February, with some activity as late as May. Therefore, the vaccination could be given even later, if necessary, because receiving a shot late is better than not getting one at all.
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Why Do I Need To Get Vaccinated Every Year
You need to get the flu vaccine every year because each year the flu vaccine is made to match the different strains of flu virus likely to be in New Zealand. Occasionally the vaccine strains are the same for more than one year, but it is still recommended that you have the vaccine each year, as the protection provided by the vaccine lessens over time. Read more about vaccination against influenza.
Why Do We Need The Flu Vaccine Every Year
Children need one dose of the vaccine every year. The exception is children who are in a clinical risk group, have not had a flu vaccine before and are under 9 years of age. These children need two doses of vaccine at least 4 weeks apart. Bristol Children’s Vaccine Centre has a short video showing how the nasal flu vaccine is given.
Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record. They are the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths each year among at-risk groups. It is important to have a flu vaccine every year because the flu virus is very variable and changes over time. Each year there are different strains around, and a new vaccine has to be prepared to deal with them. Vaccination from previous years is not likely to protect people against current strains of flu.
Each years flu vaccine is made to give the best protection against the strains of flu that are expected to circulate in the coming season. The inactivated trivalent vaccine protects against three of the flu virus strains and the inactivated quadrivalent vaccine protects against four of the flu strains which are most likely to be around. The nasal flu vaccine is a quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against four flu virus strains.
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When Do I Need To Get The Vaccine
Get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available at your doctor’s office, public health clinic, supermarket, or wherever else it’s offered in your area. “Many people unfortunately wait until cases of influenza are already in their community. That’s not a particularly good idea because influenza is very contagious and it travels very quickly,” Duchin says. The vaccine takes about two weeks to take full effect, so if your neighbor comes over coughing and sneezing and your immune system isn’t yet fully primed against the flu, watch out.
Because experts are never sure exactly when in the flu season the first viruses will hit, earlier is better. Get the vaccine in August or September, and it should protect you through the whole flu season, even if it lingers until March.
What Should I Do If I Think I Am Sick With Flu
If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs are a treatment option. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at higher risk of serious flu complications and you develop flu symptoms. Flu signs and symptoms can include feeling feverish or having a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu illness.
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How The Influenza Vaccine Works
The influenza viruses change every year because the influenza virus has a unique ability to change its surface structure. This means that even if you had the flu or an immunisation one year, your bodys immune system might be unable to fight the changed version of the virus that will be circulating the following year.
Each year, a new vaccine is developed and is available for those who wish to be immunised. The seasonal flu vaccine includes protection against four strains of influenza viruses.
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu because it does not contain live virus. Some people may still contract the flu because the vaccine may not always protect against all strains of the influenza virus circulating in the community.
Some People May Need More Than One Influenza Vaccine Each Year
There are some people who are recommended to have a second dose of the flu vaccine within the space of one year.
- Children less than 9 years receiving their flu vaccine for the first time require 2 doses 4 weeks apart for an adequate immune response.
- People who have had a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant and are receiving the flu vaccine for the first time after transplant.
- Pregnant women, who may be vaccinated with the next seasons flu vaccine if it becomes available in the latter part of their pregnancy, even if they were vaccinated with the previous seasons vaccine prior to or earlier in pregnancy.
- Overseas travellers, who may benefit from a second dose of this seasons flu vaccine if going to the northern hemisphere winter and receiving the northern hemisphere formulation there is not feasible.
Please check with your GP, pharmacist, or other immunisation provider to find out whether you fall into one of these categories.
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You’re Allergic To Certain Antibiotics
If you or your child is allergic to antibiotics, talk to your doctor first before getting a flu shot. Some flu shots don’t contain any antibiotics. However, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, certain flu shots may contain one or more of the following types of antibiotics:
- Quantity Neomycin : < 0.00002 mg 0.000062mg
- Quantity Polymyxin B : < 0.011mg
- Kanamycin : < 0.00003 mg
- Gentamicin : < 0.00015 mg
These antibiotics are sometimes added to the flu vaccine to prevent bacteria from contaminating it during the manufacturing process. If you’re worried about an allergic reaction to the vaccine, keep in mind the antibiotics used are not usually the same ones you may be allergic to. The most common antibiotic allergies are to penicillin, cephalosporins, or sulfa drugs, which are not used in flu vaccine production. Although you shouldn’t have an allergic reaction to the shot, it’s always best to check with your doctor before you get the vaccine.
How Do Antibiotics Fight Infections
Antibiotics are common medications, but they are also sophisticated weapons that kill or stun bacteria in your body. There are a number of different types, and they work in a variety of ways against different types of bacteria.
Its important to know that antibiotics work by killing bacteria, so theyre effective only when you have an infection caused by bacteria in your body. This is different from vaccines, which can shield you from infections caused by bacteria or viruses that you might encounter in the future.
Some antibiotics directly kill bacteria. These are called bactericidal antibiotics. Other antibiotics are bacteriostatic. This means that they slow bacteria down, giving your immune system time to catch up. Either way, antibiotics can stop a bacterial infection from spreading.
Because antibiotics attack bacteria that are living in your body, theyre most effective when youre already sick with an infection.
What about antiseptics?
Antiseptics are different from antibiotics because they arent targeted weapons. Instead, they are harsh chemicals that kill just about everything. Antiseptics are helpful for cleaning surfaces, because they can kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites but they also harm living cells. For that reason, antiseptics cant be taken as medication.
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Nih Is Committed To More Flu Vaccine Research
William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, sees the study results as building on evidence indicating that the microbiome the trillions of microbes that live in the gastrointestinal tract has a pervasive effect on our health.
Taking antibiotics clearly had a measurable reduction in the immune response, but we dont know whether its clinically significant yet, says Dr. Schaffner, who was not involved in the study. “It could be that if youre taking antibiotics it might not be a good time to get a flu vaccine, but were not quite there yet in terms of research.
He also points out that the antibiotic combination used in this investigation was not one seen in common practice.
This antibiotic cocktail is a very unusual mix of ingredients, says Schaffner. It seems specifically designed to kill off as many gut bacteria as possible.
For future research, Schaffner would like to see a larger study population and an antibiotic combination used in standard treatment.
Significantly more work needs to be done to truly understand the real impact of the microbiome on influenza, says Embry.
Embry adds that the NIH will continue to support research exploring factors that may improve human immune response to influenza vaccines.
I Have An Allergy To Latex
Some people have an allergy to latex which manifests as skin inflammation when their skin comes into contact with latex – so-called contact dermatitis. However, neither the vaccine nor any of the vaccine components that are in contact with the injection solution contain latex. That means that Public Health England has advised that people who are allergic to latex can have the vaccine.
A very small number of people have a very severe anaphylactic reaction when they come into contact with latex. Therefore, some pharmacists will advise people with this extreme form of latex allergy to contact their GP if they need a flu vaccination.
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Differences Between Shot And Nasal Vaccine
People taking immunosuppressive drugs should get the flu shot, not the nasal-spray flu vaccine . LAIV, which contains live, weakened flu virus, is not recommended for anyone who has a chronic disease, including IBD. LAIV should also not be taken by anyone receiving medications that can weaken the immune system, such as the IBD drugs mentioned above.
The inactivated flu shot contains dead viruses and will not give the recipient the flu.
Do I Really Need A Flu Vaccine
If you’re over 6 months old, the CDC says yes, you need to get a flu vaccination at the start of every flu season. Despite the fact that we tend to label any illness that makes us sneeze, shiver, or vomit as “the flu,” true influenza isn’t a trivial illness. It can do far worse than just keep you home from work or school for a few days.
“Hundreds of thousands of people each year are hospitalized with influenza. Between 3,000 and 40,000 people die during any influenza season, depending on the strain that’s circulating,” says Jeffrey Duchin, MD. He’s chief of the Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization Section at Seattle & King County Public Health, and an associate professor in medicine in the University of Washington Division of Infectious Diseases.
Although young infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions like asthma or heart disease are most susceptible to flu complications , people of all ages die from the disease each year.
“It’s a serious health problem for adults and children. And it’s preventable,” says Duchin, who is also a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices . “We have a way for people to avoid unnecessary doctor’s visits, to avoid unnecessary antibiotics, and to avoid hospitalization.”
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Where To Get The Influenza Vaccine
In Victoria the most common way people access the flu vaccine is from their doctor or a pharmacist immuniser . Some local council immunisation services also provide the flu vaccine as do some hospitals, maternity services and community health services.
Workplaces seeking to reduce the impact of flu infection on employees may also provide flu vaccination programs for their staff.
How You Can Help Fight Superbugs
The good news is that were making progress in the battle against superbugs. Aetna is working to educate doctors about the dangers of overprescribing antibiotics for common complaints like acute bronchitis, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Departments of Health. In 2018, the program reduced unnecessary prescriptions by 16%. In 2019, the initiative will be expanding to additional states.
But we need your help. You can fight the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs by asking the right questions and taking your medication as directed. If your doctor offers to prescribe you antibiotics, ask if theyre really necessary. Doctors may think people are coming to them for antibiotics, Dr. Knecht says. Asking doctors if antibiotics are needed lets them know that youre there for the right treatment, whatever that is. And if you do need antibiotics for a bacterial illness, dont skip doses and do take all the pills prescribed to you, even after you feel better. And dont share antibiotics with others.
Imagine a world where you dont know if antibiotics will work, Dr. Knecht urges. Many people dont recognize how important they are. We need to elevate their status and preserve this precious resource.
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Connection Between Vaccine Response And Preexisting Immunity
The response to the flu vaccine differed between the two groups. All of the first 22 volunteers from 201415 turned out to have high levels of flu antibodies to begin with. So, whether they took antibiotics or not, they had a preexisting immunity to that seasons flu virus strain.
In the 201516 group, however, all selected participants had low levels of flu antibodies at the start and low immunity. None had received a flu vaccination in the three years prior. After getting the flu shot, those who also took the antibiotics had a significant drop in antibodies that would protect them from the H1N1 virus.
Study authors suggest that if these individuals were exposed to this H1N1 virus after vaccination, they would most likely be less protected against getting the flu than people who had not received antibiotics.
Interestingly, the effect on the vaccine response was seen only in people with low levels of preexisting immunity to this vaccine, says Embry. Its important to note that the antibiotic treatment did not appear to significantly impact the immune responses in those who had higher levels of preexisting immunity to influenza.
Who Should Get Immunised Against Influenza
Everyone who is able to be vaccinated, should be vaccinated against the flu, every year.
Yearly flu vaccination is provided free through the National Immunisation Program for most people in the community who are at an increased risk of serious complications.
In Victoria, flu vaccination is free for:
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months and over
- pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- people 65 years and over.
- people aged six months and older with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of severe influenza and its complications:
- cardiac disease
- children aged six months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.
People not eligible for free flu vaccination under the National Immunisation Program can purchase the flu vaccine from their immunisation provider.
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Can I Catch The Flu From The Flu Vaccine
You probably know at least one person who claims they came down with the flu days after getting a flu vaccine. Though your friend might have felt sick, the vaccine wasn’t to blame for the ailment. “It’s a very commonly held myth, but it’s just that,” Weinberg says. “It’s absolutely impossible scientifically and medically to get the flu from the inactivated vaccine shot.”
You can’t catch the flu from the vaccine, because the version of the virus used in flu shots is dead. In the nasal spray vaccine the virus is severely weakened, so it’s not likely to cause more than a few sniffles or sneezes. Chances are, your friend either had a bad cold or another respiratory infection, not the flu.
Most side effects from the influenza vaccination are mild, like soreness at the site of the shot, a low-grade fever, or a little achiness. You’re actually far safer getting the vaccine then skipping it. “There’s a much higher rate of getting complications if you take your chances with the real disease than if you get immunized,” Weinberg says.