A Flu Vaccine Is The Best Prevention
Flu seasons and their severity are unpredictable. Annual vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza in people ages 6 months and older.
An annual vaccination to prevent flu is the best way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated, it is less likely that the flu viruses will spread through a community.
The vaccine typically changes each year and contains the four flu virus strains that are expected to circulate in the U.S. during the upcoming flu season. The effectiveness of influenza vaccines varies depending on several factors, such as the age and health of the recipient, the types of circulating influenza viruses, and the degree of similarity between circulating viruses and those included in the vaccine.
The task of producing a new vaccine for the next flu season starts well before the current season ends. For the FDA, its a year-round initiative.
The flu vaccine will trigger your immune system to produce antibodies to protect against influenza disease it will not make you sick with the flu. It can take about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body, which is an important reason to get your flu vaccine early, before flu activity starts.
How Safe Is The Flu Vaccine
The influenza vaccine is very safe. It cannot cause the flu. Side effects are usually mild and can include:
- mild soreness where the needle went into the arm for 1 to 2 days.
- a mild fever or aches for the first day or 2 after immunization.
Do not give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen before or around the time of vaccination as it does not prevent the pain of injection and it could have an impact on how well the vaccine works. These medications can be used to treat fever, pain, or other bothersome side effects if they develop after vaccination.
Administering Flu Vaccine During The Covid
Curbside and drive-through vaccination clinics may provide the best option for staff and patient safety during the COVID-19 pandemic in communities with high transmission. Read CDCs guidance on drive-through vaccination clinics.
No. Flu vaccination should be deferred for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms, until they have met the criteria to discontinue their isolation. While mild illness is not a contraindication to flu vaccination, vaccination visits for these people should be postponed to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other patients to the virus that causes COVID-19. When scheduling or confirming appointments for flu vaccination, patients should be instructed to notify the health care professionals office or clinic in advance if they currently have or develop any symptoms of COVID-19.
Flu vaccination should be deferred until a patient is no longer acutely ill. This may be different for patients who are already being cared for in a medical setting than it is for patients who are isolating at home. In a medical setting, the timing for vaccination is a matter of clinical discretion. In general, patients who are isolating at home should wait until they meet criteria for leaving isolation to come to a vaccination setting in order to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. CDC has guidance for when people can be around others after having COVID-19.
Get A Free Flu Shot Near You
Getting a flu shot is always a good idea. But with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its even more important. Why? Because you want to protect yourself from having the flu virus and COVID at the same time.
Maybe you consider the flu an inconvenience, not a serious illness. But, like COVID-19, the flu can be bad news for some. Getting a flu shot can keep you from spreading flu to others at high risk of severe illness .Flu cases were low last year. But that doesnt mean they wont rise again. You can help keep cases down by getting the shot. Its easy, safe and puts you on the first line of defense.
Who Can Get The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is recommended and offered free of charge to people who are at higher risk of complications:
- Children from 6 months to 17 years old who have certain chronic diseases
- Adults who have certain chronic diseases
- Pregnant women, in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of their pregnancy
- People aged 75 and over.
To reduce the risk of contamination, the flu vaccine is also offered free of charge to:
- Family members who live in the same household of a child under 6 months of age or a person at higher risk of being hospitalized and to their caregivers
- Health care workers
Flu vaccination is also free of charge to:
- Healthy children from 6 to 23 months old
- Healthy people from 60 to 74 years old
If you are not among those eligible for free vaccination, you can also get the vaccine in your preferred vaccine clinic . Since the costs can vary, contact your preferred clinic to find out how much it costs.
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What Flu Vaccine Should I Get
Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people. There are flu shots approved for use in children as young as 6 months of age and flu shots approved for use in adults 65 years and older. Flu shots also are recommended for use in pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years of age. People with some medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine. Your provider will know which flu vaccine is best for you.
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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Although People With Insurance Pay Nothing When They Get Their Shot Many Dont Realize That Their Insurers Foot The Bill And That Those Companies Will Recoup Their Costs Eventually
In the Byzantine world of health care pricing, most people wouldnt expect that the ubiquitous flu shot could be a prime example of how the systems lack of transparency can lead to disparate costs.
The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover all federally recommended vaccines at no charge to patients, including flu immunizations. Although people with insurance pay nothing when they get their shot, many dont realize that their insurers foot the bill and that those companies will recoup their costs eventually.
In just one small sample from one insurer, Kaiser Health News found dramatic differences among the costs for its own employees. At a Sacramento, Calif., facility, the insurer paid $85, but just a little more than half that at a clinic in Long Beach. A drugstore in Washington, D.C., was paid $32.
The wide discrepancy in what insurers pay for the same flu shot illustrates whats wrong with Americas health system, said Glenn Melnick, a health economist at the University of Southern California.
There is always going to be some variance in prices, but $85 as a negotiated price sounds ridiculous, he said.
Flu shots are relatively cheap compared with most health services, but considering the tens of millions of Americans who get vaccinated each year, those prices add up.
Health plans pass those expenses to consumers through higher premiums, economists say.
Cigna also said many issues are considered when determining its varied payments.
Who Should Get The Flu Vaccine
Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated for flu. It is especially important that the people in one of the groups listed below get a flu shot every year as they are more likely to get severely ill with flu.
- Children aged 6 months through 18 years
- People 50 years of age and older
- Pregnant and postpartum women
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, neurologic and neuromuscular conditions and weakened immune systems
- People with muscle and nerve disorders that make it difficult to breath or swallow
- Children aged 6 months through 18 years on long-term aspirin therapy
- People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities
- Anyone who might transmit flu to someone at risk. For example, health care workers, including those in training, emergency response workers, direct care staff, people who live with or care for anyone on the list above, and people who live with or care for infants under 6 months of age, including parents, siblings, and daycare providers
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If I Get The Flu Shot Can I Still Get The Flu
Several strains of flu go around, and the flu shot covers the ones youre most likely to get. But its possible to catch a strain that isnt covered by the vaccine. Still, getting the vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu. And the vaccine can also reduce how severe the flu is if you do get it.
Why Should My Child Get A Flu Vaccine
- Reduces the risk of flu illness and hospitalization among children.
- Shown to be life-saving for children.
- Can make illness less severe among people who get vaccinated but still get sick with flu.
- Reduces the risk of illness, which can keep your child from missing school or childcare and you from having to miss work.
- Reduces the high risk of developing serious flu complication especially if your child is younger than 5 years, or of any age with certain chronic conditions.
- Helps prevent spreading flu to family and friends, including babies younger than 6 months who are too young to get a flu vaccine.
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How Flu Vaccine Virus Strains Are Selected
Every year, in late February or early March, before that years flu season ends, the FDA, the World Health Organization , the CDC, and other public health experts collaborate on collecting and reviewing data from around the world to identify the flu viruses likely to cause the most illnesses during the next flu season.
Following that process, the FDA convenes its vaccines advisory committee, consisting of outside experts, to discuss the WHO recommendations and to consider which flu viruses are expected to circulate in the U.S. The committee also reviews data about which flu viruses have caused illnesses in the past year, how the viruses are changing, and disease trends for the U.S. The FDA takes that information into account before it selects the virus strains for FDA-licensed manufacturers to include in their vaccines for use in the U.S.
The closer the match between the virus strains chosen for the vaccine and the circulating strains causing disease during flu season, the better the protection that the flu vaccine provides. Although the vaccine and viruses may not be an exact match in some years, that does not mean the vaccine is not benefiting people. Available data show that the vaccine can reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
Taking Care Of Yourself: Who Is At High Risk For Severe Disease And Complications
The following are health and age factors that increase a persons risk of getting serious complications from the flu, including death:
- Metabolic disorders
- Morbid obesity
- People younger than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin therapy
- Weakened immune system due to disease or medication
Other people at high risk from the flu:
- Adults 65 years and older
- Children younger than five years old, but especially children younger than two years old
- Pregnant women and women up to two weeks after the end of pregnancy
- American Indians and Alaska Natives
What happens if I get the flu while pregnant?
Changes to your immune system during pregnancy can make you more sensitive to the flu. This can result in serious problems for your unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery. Additionally, fever in early pregnancy can lead to birth defects.
If you get flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. If necessary, your health care provider will prescribe an antiviral medicine to treat you.
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I Still Got The Flu After The Flu Vaccine Why Should I Get The Flu Vaccine This Year
Although the flu vaccine wont prevent every case of the flu, getting an annual vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of serious illness. Getting the flu vaccine may make illness milder. A 2017 study in Clinical Infectious Diseases showed that influenza vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized influenza patients.
A flu shot cannot cause flu illness. If you get flu-like symptoms after receiving the flu vaccine, there may be a few reasons why you have a low grade fever, and headache, including that they may be mild side-effects of the vaccine. If you get diagnosed with the flu shortly after receiving the flu vaccine, you may have been exposed to the flu virus beforehand, as it takes approximately two weeks for the vaccine to work.
When Can Babies Get The Flu Shot
Babies younger than 6 months can’t receive the flu vaccine because their immune systems aren’t strong enough yet. Those older than 6 months should get the flu shot every season to prevent health complications and spreading the illness to others.
So when is the best time to get it? Because flu season strengthens in the fall and winterand because it takes two to four weeks to build effectivenessthe CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting the vaccine later still protects against the illness.
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Getting A Flu Vaccine During The Covid
Yes. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your familys health every year. Take recommended precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19 while getting your flu vaccine.
Yes. Wearing a mask and physical distancing can help protect you and others from respiratory viruses, like flu and the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the best way to reduce your risk of flu illness and its potentially serious complications is for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine each year. By getting a flu vaccine, you may also be protecting people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.
Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time.
Even though both vaccines can be given at the same visit, people should follow the recommended schedule for either vaccine: If you havent gotten your currently recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can, and ideally get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
While limited data exist on giving COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, including flu vaccines, experience with giving other vaccines together has shown the way our bodies develop protection and possible side effects are generally similar whether vaccines are given alone or with other vaccines.
If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, you should speak with a health care provider.
Common Flu Shot Side Effects
Repeat: The flu vaccine won’t give you the flu, but you can experience mild symptoms because of how the vaccine works.
“The flu vaccine is designed to stimulate your immune system to build antibodies to the virus. That stimulation can cause a low-grade fever, a decrease in appetite, loose stool, mild fatigue or myalgia and even a scant cough,” Teague says.
According to Teague, these symptoms usually resolve after a few days and are no cause for alarm. You may also experience some redness, swelling or soreness where the shot was injected, which is also normal.
The CDC says you can experience “flulike” symptoms after getting the vaccine, such as:
- Soreness, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle aches
The symptoms listed above should resolve in a few days. Also, keep in mind not everyone has symptoms, but those are the most common. When it comes to other symptoms, or symptoms that last longer, it’s important to keep in mind that you can still catch a cold, or other virus, right after you get the flu shot.
So if you experience other symptoms that seem like the flu, it could be another illness and it doesn’t mean the shot made you sick. The flu shot also takes about two weeks to become effective at protecting you from the flu, so you could technically catch the flu within that two-week window.
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People At High Risk Of Complications From The Flu
- people with health conditions, such as:
- cancer and other immune compromising conditions
- kidney disease
- neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
- children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid
Who Should Get Vaccinated
- Adults and children who are 6 months of age and older
- This includes:
- Anyone 65 years and older
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Adults and children 6 months and older who needed regular medical care or were in a hospital during the previous year because of
- a metabolic disease
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic respiratory disease
- chronic cardiac disease
- weakened immune system
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