How Does Flu Spread
Flu spreads mainly by droplets when people who have flu talk, cough, or sneeze, and these droplets land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or are inhaled. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
People can spread flu to others from one day before they have symptoms to 5-7 days after they get sick. This can be longer in children and people who are very sick.
Can You Get A Flu Shot If Youre Sick
It depends. The general guidance is it depends on how sick you are, says Donald Ford, MD, MBA, Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. If you have a mild illness or a cold what we normally think of a routine viral infection theres absolutely no reason why you cant go ahead and get your flu shot, which is protection against a more severe viral infection.
However, if you have a fever which for adults is classified as a temperature over 100.4° F or are otherwise feeling unlike yourself, Dr. Ford recommends rescheduling for another day.
The temperature is one marker, he says. If youre sick enough that youre staying home from work, if youre having trouble keeping food down or staying hydrated, those would be all reasons to at least postpone it.
Are There Risks To Getting A Flu Shot When Youre Sick
If you do get a flu shot when youre sick, dont worry you wont hurt yourself or make yourself sicker. However, its best to let your body focus on dealing with your existing illness.
The immune system is preoccupied with fighting off what youre already sick with, says Dr. Ford. And so you want your system in a prepared state. That way when you get the vaccine, you get a good response. And that bolsters your immunity to influenza that will hopefully last you through the whole flu season.
In a perfect world, getting a flu shot would ensure you stay healthy. But if you get sick a few days after getting a flu shot, will that hurt your chances of developing immunity for the season?
Thankfully, likely not. The immune response to any vaccination happens fairly quickly, typically within the first 24 to 48 hours, says Dr. Ford. So if you find yourself sick later on its a funny thing, because people always say, Well, I got sick from the flu shot. However, the illness was probably there to begin with, and you just hadnt started feeling symptoms. As long as your symptoms are minimal, your bodys going to have a great chance to mount the immunity.
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What If I Miss A Dose
If you miss a dose of Tamiflu, take it as soon as you remember, unless its within 2 hours of your next dose. If its within 2 hours, just skip the missed dose and take your next dose as scheduled.
To help make sure that you dont miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.
What Is The Cell
The production of influenza vaccines traditionally involves hens eggs. However, there is a different method for cell-based influenza vaccines such as Flucelvax Quad, the only cell-based flu vaccine approved for use in Australia. Its approved for use in people aged 9 years and older but has not been added to the National Immunisation Program schedule.
Studies show that cell-based vaccines have a similar efficacy and safety profile to standard flu vaccines. Normally, neither type is recommended over the other.
However, standard flu vaccines are preferred for use in pregnancy because a large body of evidence supports their safety for pregnant women. The safety of cell-based flu vaccines during pregnancy hasnt been assessed.
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Wait You Can Get The Flu Twice
Youre probably at least vaguely aware that there are different strains of the flu. The four main types are influenzas A, B, C and D, and there are subsets within those categories.
Because theres more than one kind of flu, its always possible to get the flu twice its just very rare. Thats because one flu type, almost always an A strain, typically dominates any given flu season, with a second, usually a B, simmering along in the background and leading to smaller clusters of illnesses. To get both youd have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time twice with the right combination of factors to make you fall ill. While the flu sweeps the nation each year, only about 20% of the U.S. population actually gets infected.
You have to have really bad luck to be exposed to both viruses at a point such that youre susceptible and you get sick twice, says William Schaffner, a preventive medicine and infectious disease researcher at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Safety And Side Effects
Side effects associated with the vaccine are:
- runny or stuffy nose
- high temperature
- nose bleeds
- allergic reactions
Additional information about vaccine side effects, anaphylaxis and adverse reactions can be found here.
There is no evidence that healthy unvaccinated people can catch flu from the nasal flu spray .
It is known that vaccinated children shed the virus for a few days after vaccination . However, the vaccine virus is weakened, and so it is much less able to spread from person to person than flu viruses that circulate during the flu season, and it cannot grow inside the body. The amount of virus that children shed is normally below the levels needed to pass on infection to others. The virus does not survive for long outside the body.
It is therefore not necessary for children to be excluded from school during the period when the vaccine is being given. The only exception is the very small number of children who are extremely immunocompromised . These children are usually advised not to attend school anyway, because of the higher risk of being in contact with infections that circulate in schools.
The nasal flu spray should not be given to anyone who is severely immunodeficient due to a medical condition or treatment with an immunosuppressive therapy such as:
This is because the weakened viruses in the vaccine could replicate too much and cause infection.
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Tamiflu Use With Other Drugs
Tamiflu works to treat influenza by shortening the duration and lowering the severity of flu symptoms. However, flu symptoms can still be uncomfortable and interfere with your daily activities. Tamiflu can be taken in combination with other drugs that are used to reduce symptoms of the flu. Examples of over-the-counter drugs that may be used with Tamiflu are listed below.
Examples of drugs that reduce body aches, pain, and fever include:
Examples of drugs that reduce chest congestion and coughing include:
Some of the drugs listed above cant be used in children. Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before you or your child starts taking a new medication. This is important to do, even if the medication is sold over the counter.
Combination medications, such as Theraflu
Other OTC medications such as Theraflu, which contains combinations of these drugs, may also help to improve flu symptoms. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about whether or not you should take any OTC medications for flu symptoms.
You should take Tamiflu according to your doctor or healthcare professionals instructions.
When Should I Get My Shot
Ideally, doctors said, its best to wait until September or well into October. Schaffner suggests mid-September to mid-November. The effectiveness of the shot wanes over time. In most people, it stays strong for six months or so, but people over 65 tend to lose immunity more quickly. Waiting a little longer to get the shot improves the odds that youll be protected until the end of the season, which is usually around March or April. However, it takes two weeks to get the shots full benefit, so you want to get it before cases become more common in the fall. Thats often in November. If you havent already gotten sick, you can get shots into the spring.
But if its convenient to get it sooner, especially if youre young and healthy, take it. The best time to get the flu vaccine is any time, said Levine, whose agency will start its push around Labor Day.
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Who Should Have The Flu Shot
The Australian Government recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months has a flu vaccination every year.
Its difficult to predict who will catch influenza , or who will become seriously ill from it. The flu can require hospitalisation and can even be fatal.
Getting vaccinated against the flu helps protect both you and the people around you. Its particularly important to protect vulnerable people in the community who cant be vaccinated, such as babies who are younger than 6 months and adults with low immunity.
But Vaccine Especially Important For High
byMolly Walker, Associate Editor, MedPage Today August 20, 2020
Patients with COVID-19 should delay getting their influenza vaccine, not because of any evidence about how the virus affects vaccination, but in order to ensure others in the healthcare setting are not exposed unnecessarily, CDC officials said on a call with clinicians on Thursday.
Routine vaccination should be deferred for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, and patients should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before and during the visit. In addition, clinicians should don personal protective equipment during vaccination, including masks, eye protection and gloves, when appropriate.
On a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity call entitled “2020-2021 Influenza Vaccination Recommendations and Clinical Guidance during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” agency officials attempted to navigate through uncharted waters in infectious diseases, as COVID-19 is set to collide with influenza season.
Officials often look to the southern hemisphere as an indicator for the U.S. flu season, but they reported flu activity at “much lower rates than is typical,” said Lisa Grohskopf, MD, of the CDC. She added that while fewer countries are reporting data and fewer viruses are being detected, social distancing and other preventive measures may have helped reduce the spread of influenza.
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Alternatives For Treatment Of Influenza
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat the flu include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every person ages 6 months and older who is healthy enough to get a flu vaccine get one. Getting vaccinated helps to prevent influenza infections and spreading the virus between people.
Most flu vaccines are given by injection . However, the FluMist vaccine is given as a nasal spray. The CDC recommends that you receive a flu vaccine each year. Talk with your doctor for more information about the different types of vaccines, and to schedule a time to get your flu vaccine.
You may wonder how Tamiflu compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Tamiflu and Xofluza are alike and different.
Will I Need To Use This Drug Long Term
Tamiflu is meant to be used short term for both treating and preventing the flu.
Most people will take Tamiflu for 5 days when its used to treat the flu. When its used to prevent the flu, Tamiflu is typically taken for 10 days. But it can be used for up to 6 weeks for flu prevention if theres a community outbreak.
Tamiflu isnt meant to be used long term. Your doctor will recommend how long you should take this drug.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Tamiflu.
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When Should I Get Vaccinated
In the United States, flu season typically:
- Starts in October
- Peaks sometime between December and February
- Tapers off by April or, at the latest, May
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October. If you miss that date, though, don’t consider it too late. The worst of the season is still ahead, so it’s still worthwhile to get the shot in January or even later.
Because flu vaccines’ effectiveness starts to wane after about six months, it’s not a good idea to get it too early, such as in July or August. You want to make sure you’re protected through the winter months and into spring.
Im Pregnant Is It Safe To Get The Flu Shot
Yes, the flu shot is safe. Those who are pregnant should be immunized. Infants born during flu season to mothers who got a flu shot are usually protected against the flu for a few months. The flu shot is also safe and highly recommended for those breastfeeding. Since infants less than 6 months of age cannot get the flu shot , antibodies against the flu are transferred through breast milk.
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When Should You Cancel A Flu Shot If Youre Sick
The key is paying close attention to your symptoms and determining whether youre on the upswing or downswing of that arc. If youre getting better and your flu shot is scheduled for the next day, youre probably fine, Dr. Ford says. If youre still feeling bad or getting worse, then that might be the time to at least check with your doctor about whether you should proceed.
Erring on the side of caution and postponing your appointment until you feel better is never a bad idea, however. Flu shots are widely available in doctors offices, Dr. Ford says. Theyre in all the pharmacies. If youre not sure if you should go ahead and get it, it really isnt a big deal if you delay it by a day or two.
Those At Increased Risk From The Effects Of Flu
Flu can affect anyone, but if you have a long-term health condition, the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well. You should have the free flu vaccine if you are:
or have a long-term condition such as:
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or serious breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or some people with asthma
- a kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
- liver disease
- had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack
- a neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
- a learning disability
- a problem with your spleen, such as sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
- you are seriously overweight
This list of conditions isnt definitive. Its always an issue of clinical judgement. Your GP can assess you to take into account the risk of flu making any underlying illness you may have worse, as well as your risk of serious illness from flu itself.
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Why Do I Need To Get Vaccinated Every Year
Youve probably noticed by now that we encourage our patients to get vaccinated each year. Why does this particular vaccine need to be administered again, even if you got a flu shot last year? Its because new strains of the virus are constantly appearing and evolving, so the vaccine must change along with them.
Located around the world are influenza surveillance centers that annually monitor the most common strains, collecting data and identifying new and evolving strains. Once the information has been collected, the World Health Organization selects the three strains most likely to circulate during the following flu season. This decision is typically made in February, allowing the development of a new vaccine to begin around midsummer.
Because the three strains change each year, the vaccines are formulated separately before theyre combined into the final product, the trivalent vaccine. While its usually fairly accurate, there have been instances, such as the infamous H1N1 outbreak in 2009, that required the addition of a second, separate vaccination.
In addition to the constantly evolving strains of the flu virus, your bodys immune response changes over time. Taken together, those two factors essentially render the previous years vaccinations useless against new strains. This is why its so important to get yourself vaccinated each and every year, even if you got the vaccine last year!
Is Flu Illness Serious
Millions of children get sick with flu each year and thousands are hospitalized. CDC estimates that since 2010, between 7,000 and 28,000 children younger than 5 years old have been hospitalized for flu each year in the United States. Children with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and disorders of the brain or nervous system, and children younger than 5 years old are more likely to end up in the hospital from flu.
Some people at high risk can develop complications that can result in hospitalization and even death.
Flu seasons vary in how serious they are from one season to another. Since 2010, CDC estimates that between 130 and 1,200 children have died from flu each year.
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Is Tamiflu Safe For Older People To Take
Yes, its safe. In clinical studies, Tamiflu was given to 1,994 people who were ages 65 years and older, including 1,048 people ages 75 years and older. There were no differences in the safety or effectiveness of Tamiflu in these age groups compared to the safety or effectiveness seen in younger people taking the drug.
If youre over the age of 65 years, and youre interested in taking Tamiflu, talk with your doctor to see if its an option for you.