Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Should We Get The Flu Shot This Year

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Preventing The Flu During The Covid Pandemic

How often should you get a flu shot? – Melvin Sanicas

One big obstacle with managing COVID outbreaks during flu season will be hospital capacity, USA Today reports. Combining expected flu hospitalizations with urgent COVID cases can severely compromise hospitals’ ability to cope with patients’ needs. Dr. Sanjeev Jain, M.D., a doctor double-board certified in immunology and internal medicine, points out that COVID-19 is also many times deadlier than the flu. “If people dont vaccinate this year, they are not only putting themselves at greater risk, but are also putting the health care system at risk of being overwhelmed.”

Getting a flu shot also improves hospitals’ ability to treat you quickly for what you actually have. COVID and the flu share general symptoms like cough and fever, which can make it harder for hospitals to determine which patients have COVID. That means it’ll take people longer to get diagnosed and treated. “We want to be able to count accurately what’s flu versus what’s COVID,” Whyte tells Bustle. If someone got their flu shot but has a cough or fever, he says, it’s less likely to be influenza. The sooner doctors can determine who has COVID and who has the flu, the sooner the person can receive appropriate medical care.

Should My Child Get A Flu Shot

Yes. All children over 6 months old should get a flu shot each year.

Babies and children 6 months to 9 years of age who have never had a flu shot will need 2 doses of the vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart.

Those who have had one or more doses of the regular seasonal flu shot in the past, or children 9 years of age and older, will only need 1 dose per year.

The vaccine is especially important for children and youth who are at high risk of complications from the flu, including those who:

  • are between 6 months and 5 years of age.
  • have chronic heart or lung disorders serious enough to need regular medical follow-up.
  • have chronic conditions that weaken the immune system, such as immune deficiencies, cancer, HIV or a treatment that causes immune suppression.
  • have diabetes or other metabolic diseases.
  • have chronic kidney disease.
  • have to take acetylsalicylic acid on a daily basis.
  • live in a chronic care facility.
  • live in First Nation or Inuit communities.
  • live with another child or adult who is at risk of complications from the flu.

Children under 5 years old are at higher risk of complications from the flu such as high fever, convulsions and pneumonia. If you have children younger than 5 years old or who have health complications, everyone living in the house should get a flu shot. This is especially important if you have children under 6 months old or if a member of your household is pregnant.

Q: When Should I Get My Flu Shot

Advertising has already begun, and some pharmacies and clinics have their supplies now. But, because the effectiveness of the vaccine can wane over time, the CDC recommends against a shot in August.

Many pharmacies and clinics will start immunizations in early September. Generally, influenza viruses start circulating in mid- to late October but become more widespread later, in the winter. It takes about two weeks after getting a shot for antibodies which circulate in the blood and thwart infections to build up. Young, healthy people can begin getting their flu shots in September, and elderly people and other vulnerable populations can begin in October, said Dr. Steve Miller, chief clinical officer for insurer Cigna.

The CDC has recommended that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, but noted its not too late to get one after that because shots can still be beneficial and vaccination should be offered throughout the flu season.

Even so, some experts say not to wait too long this year not only because of COVID-19, but also in case a shortage develops because of overwhelming demand.

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Why Getting The Flu Vaccine Is So Important

First of all, you should get a flu shot every year. Its just good practice, as Dr. Rehm explains. Influenza is a very serious disease and during a normal flu season, around 40,000 or more people die from it. So with any preventable disease, we should do everything we can to protect ourselves.

But its especially important this year, she continues. Were going to have influenza and COVID-19 coexisting and theres a lot of overlap between the symptoms. We also anticipate that there will be some people who have COVID-19 and influenza at the same time, which could be difficult.

Part of what would make such a scenario so calamitous, Dr. Rehm says, is that our national healthcare system could be inundated in some regions. Weve seen problems in various places because of the delta variant surge and if we add influenza on top that, it could overwhelm our capacity.

Can I Have The Flu Vaccine If I Take Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Lets Talk a Millennial Into Getting a Flu Shot

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a type of medicine used to treat some cancers, including metastatic melanoma, renal clear cell carcinoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, non-small cell lung cancer and other solid organ tumours. Checkpoint inhibitors include ipilimumab, nivolumab and pembrolizumab.

People taking checkpoint inhibitors may have a higher risk of immune-related side effects following influenza vaccination. Talk to your oncologist about the risks and benefits of the flu shot.

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How Soon Is Too Soon To Get A Flu Shot

It is possible, though, to get the flu vaccine too early. You may hear in the late summer, for instance, that your local pharmacy has started offering flu shots. Resist the urge to get one immediately. By waiting until September or October you’ll make sure you benefit from all the protection a flu vaccine can offer, when you may need it most.

The general consensus, according to the CDC and infectious diseases experts, is that you should generally not get vaccinated earlier than September, because the protection against the flu virus wanes over time. The flu shot is most effective in the first three months after a vaccination, but people still have protection for at least six months after the shot.

The sweet spot for getting vaccinatedmid-September to Octoberis to make sure that the shot protects for as much of the active flu season as possible. This advice is especially important for adults age 65 and older, since they’re more at risk if their protection decreases too much before flu activity has ended for the season.

Are You Contagious After A Flu Shot If You Experience Side Effects

The mild symptoms you might experience after getting vaccinated are an immune response, not the signs of an illness. Thats because even though the flu vaccine contains inactive virus, your immune system still recognizes it as an intruder and creates antibodies. This antibody creation is what can spur side effects, as well as get your body ready for a possible exposure to an active virus.

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The Flu Shot Is Effective

The effectiveness of the vaccine varies from season to season. It depends on:

  • how well the vaccine matches with the circulating flu viruses
  • the health and age of the person getting the flu shot

The viruses circulating in the population can sometimes change during the time it takes to produce a vaccine. When this happens during the flu season, the flu shot may not work as well as expected.

It’s also important to remember that the flu shot protects against several different flu viruses each season. The seasonal flu shot can still provide protection against the remaining 2 or 3 viruses, even when theres:

  • a less-than-ideal match
  • lower effectiveness against one virus

If you do get the flu, the flu shot may reduce the severity of flu-related complications.

Getting your flu shot is still the most effective way to protect yourself against the flu and flu-related complications.

Should I Get The Flu Vaccine If I’m Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

12-08-2021 Health: Why You Should Get The Flu Vaccine This Year
  • 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.

SourcesFlu & Pregnancy- CDC

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When Is It Too Late To Get A Flu Shot

While you usually want to get a flu shot well before flu season gets started, that isn’t always possible. With flu shot delays or shortages, your child might not always be able to get a flu shotwhen you want.

So when is it too late to get vaccinated against the flu?

The CDC recommends getting vaccinated early, but they also say, “Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.”

So it is really never too late to get a flu vaccine.

How To Get Vaccinated Against Influenza

Influenza vaccines are given as an injection, usually in the upper arm. It is important to get the right vaccine for your age. Your immunisation provider can tell you which vaccine they will use for you or your child’s influenza immunisation.

Influenza vaccines available under the NIP for the 2022 season include:

  • VaxiGrip Tetra

The Therapeutic Goods Administration website provides product information and consumer medicine information for each vaccine available.

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Audenz: Protection For A Future Bird Flu Pandemic

In February 2020, the FDA approved Audenz monovalent vaccine, adjuvanted) from Seqirus. Audenz is an inactivated, cell-based influenza vaccine designed to protect against influenza A in the event of a H5N1 flu) global pandemic. It is not currently found in other U.S. flu vaccine products. The U.S. government will stockpile this vaccine and distribute it in the event of an outbreak. Outbreaks of bird flu have occurred in Asia, Africa, North America and parts of Europe.

  • Audenz is approved in people 6 months of age and older at increased risk of exposure to the influenza A virus H5N1 subtype contained in the vaccine.
  • Audenz is given as 2 different shots. The two doses are given as an intramuscular injection 21 days apart. It is important you complete the two-dose immunization series if you need the vaccine.
  • Audenz contains an adjuvant that increases the effectiveness of the vaccine and is developed using cell-based technology.

Common side effects with Audenz in adults may include injection site pain, fatigue , headache, generally feeling unwell , joint and muscle pain, and nausea . Allergic reactions can occur and appropriate medical treatment must be available to manage possible anaphylactic reactions following administration of the vaccine.

What Are The Benefits Of Flu Vaccination

Why You Really Should Consider Getting a Flu Shot This Year

There are many reasons to get an influenza vaccine each year. Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination and selected scientific studies that support these benefits.

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with the flu.

  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working-age adults, and older adults.

  • Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.

  • Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.

  • Flu vaccination can reduce worsening and hospitalization for flu-related chronic lung disease, such as in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

  • Flu vaccination also has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.

  • Flu vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.

  • Flu vaccines can be lifesaving in children.

  • Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

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Who Should Get The Flu Vaccine

“The recommendation for most adults is to get it in September, by the end of October,” Azar said, adding that people in their third trimester of pregnancy should get the flu shot as early as possible since it will confer antibodies to their child.

“Children can get it any time,” Azar said. Any child over the age of 6 months is eligible for the flu shot. Most children over the age of 2 are also eligible for a nasal spray option.

Everyone 6 Months And Older Should Get The Flu Shot

The flu shot is your best defence against the flu. The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

It can save lives by:

  • protecting you, if you’re exposed to the virus
  • preventing you from getting very sick
  • protecting people close to you:
  • because you’re less likely to spread the virus
  • who are at higher risk of serious flu complications if they get the flu
  • reducing additional burden on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • reduce your chances of being infected with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, which could lead to more serious complications
  • The flu shot wont protect you against COVID-19.

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    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.

    Who Should Get A Flu Shot

    Why you should get a flu shot every year

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot . However, there are some people who have an increased risk of complications from influenza who absolutely need a flu shot, per the CDCincluding people aged 65 or older, children younger than 2 years old, pregnant people, and Native Americans.

    Myths abound about the safety of getting a flu vaccine if you’re pregnant, but experts say it’s both safe and essential for protecting you and your baby. In a pregnant woman, the immune system downgrades, and changes to lung function predispose them to getting the flu. But when mothers receive the flu shot, they pass some of that immunity to the baby via the placenta, thus helping to provide immunity to the baby for the first few months of life,” Kecia Gaither, MD, a double board-certified OB/GYN, previously told Well+Good.

    Additionally, if you have children, your school district, city, or state might require your child to get a flu vaccine this year before going back to school. Massachusetts, for example, announced a state-wide flu vaccine mandate for all children older than 6 months who are in school , as well as full-time undergraduate and graduate students under the age of 30. A handful of other states require the flu shot for children in child-care, preschool, and/or Pre-K programs, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

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    Q: Usually I Get A Flu Shot At Work Will That Be An Option This Year

    Aiming to avoid risky indoor gatherings, many employers are reluctant to sponsor the on-site flu clinics theyve offered in years past. And with so many people continuing to work from home, theres less need to bring flu shots to employees on the job. Instead, many employers are encouraging workers to get shots from their primary care doctors, at pharmacies or in other community settings. Insurance will generally cover the cost of the vaccine.

    Some employers are considering offering vouchers for flu shots to their uninsured workers or those who dont participate in the company plan, said Julie Stone, managing director for health and benefits at Willis Towers Watson, a consulting firm. The vouchers could allow workers to get the shot at a particular lab at no cost, for example.

    Some employers are starting to think about how they might use their parking lots for administering drive-thru flu shots, said Dr. David Zieg, clinical services leader for benefits consultant Mercer.

    Although federal law allows employers to require employees to get flu shots, that step is typically taken only by health care facilities and some universities where people live and work closely together, Zieg said.

    What Are The Flu Shot Guidelines

    The flu vaccine works by presenting the immune system with a portion of the virus, allowing the body to develop an immune response so that when it encounters the real thing, it’s much better prepared to fight it off.

    According to the CDC, it is recommended that everyone over the age of six months gets vaccinated against the flu every year, with very rare exception .

    While getting the vaccine does not guarantee that you won’t suffer the misery that is the flu, it may reduce the risk of infection by 40% to 60%, and help prevent severe illness.

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