The Flu Shot Will Make Me More Susceptible To Other Respiratory Diseases
One study from 2012 suggested that people who receive the influenza vaccination are at a greater risk for other diseases with symptoms like a runny nose and a sore throat. A lot of people heard about the preliminary finding, and word spread like wildfire that the connection was definitely true. Researchers were then prompted to delve deeper into the association, and numerous studies have since disproved the link.
The CDC states that medical professionals are unclear why the 2012 study suggested those results, but that it’s not something to be concerned about whatsoever, and that it shouldn’t deter you from getting your flu shot.
Workplace Flu Vaccination Requirements And The Ada
From the desk of Tracie DeFreitas, M.S., Principal Consultant ADA Specialist
Its that stuffy head, fever, sore throat, coughing, body aching, kind of season flu season. While the influenza virus is active all year-round, October trends as the month that marks an impending flu season. With a barrage of public service reminders to get vaccinated, many people are in the midst of deciding whether to get the shot, or not. The Centers for Disease Control recommends annual vaccination as the best way to protect against the flu, but sometimes people either choose not to be vaccinated, for personal or religious reasons, or cannot be vaccinated for health-related reasons. As it pertains to health-related reasons, according to the CDC, people with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine , people who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and people who are not feeling well, should not be vaccinated for the flu. Also, those who are pregnant, have experienced a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past, and some people with certain medical impairments cannot receive the live attenuated nasal spray flu vaccine.
When immunization for the flu is not recommended, due to health-related reasons, it may be necessary to approve alternative infection control practices as a form of accommodation, if effective and reasonable. Accommodations will vary, but possible solutions might include:
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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How Dangerous Is Influenza
When we talk about the flu, we arent talking about the common cold. The cold is considered a minor nuisance, typically treated with over-the-counter medicine. The flu, on the other hand, is not something to be ignored. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that flu-related deaths were as high as 56,000 during 2012-2013.
Can My Child Get The Flu Vaccine At The Same Time As Another Childhood Vaccine Including The Covid
Yes. It is safe to get the seasonal flu vaccine at the same time as any childhood vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Many children are behind with their childhood vaccines or boosters because of the COVID-19 pandemic and getting the vaccines at the same time can help them catch up more quickly.
For children 5 to 11 years old, it may be best to wait at least 14 days between the COVID-19 and other vaccines. The reason for this is that if any side effects happen, doctors will know which vaccine they are related to. But only space out vaccines if you are sure that no other vaccines your child needs will be given late.
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Where Can I Get The Vaccine
Pharmacies including Walgreens and CVS, and at Walmart offer free flu shots. There are mobile apps to make appointments and online vaccination finders.
Public health officials and experts said that vaccination was so important because it reduces the chances of severe, sometimes fatal illness.
We cant shut it off like a light switch, Dr. Schaffner said. But we can dim it.
Children Six Months Or Younger Don’t Need It
If you have a child younger than six months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you do not have him or her vaccinated for the flu just yet. At this age, children are too young for the flu shot and their bodies and immune systems can’t handle the dosage provided in the vaccine.
Dr. Claire McCarthy, MD, from Boston Children’s Hospital, agrees that the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, but warns that “children less than six months old can’t get the flu shot.” While you want to prevent your young child from dealing with this miserable illness, you’ll need to wait until he or she is old enough to handle the flu shot. In the meantime, have your family members get their flu shots and keep their hands clean to prevent your child from gaining exposure to the germs that cause the flu.
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Too Late For The Flu Vaccine
Flu viruses usually cause the most illness during the colder months of the year. In the United States, flu season is from October to May. Most cases happen from late December to early March.
It’s best to get the flu vaccine early in flu season, ideally by the end of October. That way, the body has time to make antibodies that protect it from the flu.
What if you aren’t vaccinated by then? Getting the vaccine later is better than not getting it at all. It’s still flu season well into spring. Even then it’s not too late for you and your family to get the flu vaccine. Many health care providers give flu vaccines through May if the flu virus is still circulating.
Getting a missed flu vaccine late in the season is especially important for people who travel. That’s because the flu can be active around the globe from April to September.
The Flu Shot Will Protect You From Covid
This also isn’t true. There’s absolutely no evidence that getting a flu shot this year will protect you from COVID-19. The flu shot can, of course, protect you from influenza, an entirely different virus from the novel coronavirus. That is its intention and that’s reason enough to get your flu shot this year.
Health experts are urging the public to take flu immunization seriously this year, lest we face a “twindemic,” or a flu pandemic that overlaps the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Not only is this a threat to public health but it’s a threat to the hospital system.
The flu is responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year. The flu also temporarily suppresses your immune system and makes you susceptible to other health conditions, including pneumonia, and may worsen pre-existing conditions.
Hospital systems around the world struggled with COVID-19 during peak stages of the pandemic piling influenza cases on top of COVID-19 cases could cause extreme overflow.
Contrary to popular opinion, the flu shot won’t actually give you the flu .
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Who Should Get A Flu Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and up. Certain populations are more vulnerable — for example, people over 65, young children, those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, or illnesses that lower your immunity. People who have certain chronic diseases, such as severe asthma or an immune disorder, should talk with their doctors first. There are safe options for people with egg allergies.
Receiving a flu vaccination can’t give you seasonal flu.
Who Shouldnt Get The Flu Vaccine
If you want to get a flu vaccine but youre feeling sick, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should get immunized. If you only have a mild cold, it should be safe for you to get vaccinated. You may need to wait if you have a high fever.
Some people may not be eligible for the flu vaccine, including:
- infants under 6 months old
- people whove had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past
- people with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is a disorder that causes weakness and paralysis
In rare cases, some people have developed Guillain-Barré syndrome after receiving a vaccination.
Your doctor may advise you to specifically avoid the nasal spray if you:
- are over 50 years old
- are pregnant
- have a weakened immune system
- have a chronic health condition, such as asthma, heart disease, or lung disease
- have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
Both the nasal spray and injection include egg proteins. If youre allergic to eggs, they may cause a severe allergic reaction. However, some people with an egg allergy can safely get a flu shot. Talk to your doctor to find out if the flu vaccine is a safe option for you.
Your doctor may also advise you that your child should avoid the nasal spray if theyre between 6 months and 2 years old.
Ask your doctor if the flu vaccine is a safe option for you or your child. If its not, talk to your doctor about alternative ways to prevent the flu.
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If You Are Pregnant And Think You Have Flu
If you have flu symptoms, you should talk to your doctor urgently, because if you do have flu there is a prescribed medicine that might help , but it needs to be taken as soon as possible after the symptoms appear.
You can get the free flu vaccine from your GP, or it may also be available from your pharmacist or midwife.
Why Does The Flu Shots Effectiveness Vary So Much
The flu shots effectiveness has a bit to do with timing and educated guessing. This is because public health scientists and flu virus researchers have to predict 6 months in advance what we think the next years flu virus will look like.
You might be wondering how these predictions are made. Around February of each year, experts with the World Health Organization review data from the last flu season to make an educated guess about what strains are most likely to circulate during the next flu season. These experts then recommend which strains should be covered in the new flu shot. This gives the flu shot manufacturers the 6 months that they need to prepare the new flu shot. In late summer, the seasonal flu shot is typically ready to be given out.
In some seasons, the prediction of the strains matches the reality of the strains spreading in the community. When this happens, the vaccine is very effective. In other seasons, the flu virus may mutate, and strains that are not covered by the vaccine may cause the most illness. In these seasons, the flu shot is less effective.
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Does The Flu Vaccine Interfere With The Covid
No, says both Rivard and Dr. Rehm. In fact, if you havent received a COVID-19 vaccination yet or are receiving a third dose, you can receive it at the same time as your flu vaccine.
All available COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time as the flu vaccine, says Rivard. If someone is coming in for their flu shot and theyre eligible for COVID-19 vaccine but havent received it yet, we can offer that.
If youre receiving one of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines , which require two doses, you can receive the flu vaccine alongside either the first or second dose. Both the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend co-administering almost any two vaccines together, Rivard adds.
She adds that there are very few instances in which certain vaccines cant be administered at the same time, noting that children often receive multiple vaccines during one visit to a pediatrician.
And theres no concern about overloading our immune systems with multiple vaccines, notes Dr. Rehm. Were exposed to things that stimulate our immune system all the time, she says. Our immune system is constantly responding to various exposures even if you dont realize it.
Should I Get The Flu Vaccine If I’m Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
Years of studies and observation show that you can safely get a flu shot at any time, during any trimester, while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Babies cannot get the vaccine until six months old. Because antibodies from the vaccine pass onto a fetus in the womb and through breast milk, you protect your baby even more by getting vaccinated.
Pregnant people should not get the nasal spray form of the flu vaccine. Those with a life-threatening egg allergy should not get the flu vaccine, whether pregnant or not.
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You Dont Want To Have Both At The Same Time
Its also possible to be infected with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, although its too soon to tell how common such co-infections will be.
Its not yet been established that dual or consecutive infection causes more severe disease, but I would speculate that thats likely the case because the same site of infection is involved, said Chiu.
Here’s What You Need To Know
There is a real community need to be unified with flu vaccination because of COVID, said Cameron Wolfe, MBBS, an infectious diseases specialist with Duke Health. Hospitals and clinics get surges in patient volume every winter because of the flu, and the threat of strain on hospitals and clinics because of both the flu and COVID is quite real.
You can get your flu vaccine at Duke facilities, your doctors office, flu-only clinics, pharmacies, and other stores. Heres what you need to know.
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Seriously Get A Flu Shot
One reason its so important to get your annual flu shot , according to Dr. Rehm: protecting yourself is a lot easier than treating these illnesses.
There are some treatments available for the flu and treatments we have for COVID-19 are evolving, she says. But to avoid the disease altogether or to only have a mild case because youve been vaccinated is much better than trying to treat it. Prevention is best.
The Importance Of Social Distancing
Two reasons that last flu season was such a quiet one: social distancing and improved hygiene, says Dr. Rehm. Last year, the use of face masks, social distancing and paying more attention to hand-washing all impacted the lower rates of flu and other respiratory viruses, she says.
All of these things are still part of our strategy going forward, not just to prevent COVID-19 and the flu, but other viruses, too, she adds. Having robust vaccines adds to these levels of protection.
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Flu Isnt Just A Heavy Cold
Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, which is why its sometimes called seasonal flu. Its a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly.
Colds are much less serious and usually start gradually with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold.
The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within 2 to 7 days but, for some, the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.
Dispelling Misinformation About The Flu Vaccine Sickness Treatment And Recovery
If you’ve ever had the , you know how sick you can be. Chances are good that some of the advice friends and family gave you about avoiding or dealing with the flu was wrong. There seems to be no shortage of misinformation and bad advice when it comes to dealing with the flu and the flu shot.
Here are 10 common myths about the flu.
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