The flu is more than just a few sniffles and a fever. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and about 36,000 people die from flu every year. Older adults, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at the highest risks for serious flu complications. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get vaccinated every year.
“We have an adequate supply of flu vaccines this year and have many clinics scheduled throughout New Haven County,” reports Beth Capobianco, RN, Flu Clinic Coordinator at VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice. The flu virus usually reaches peak levels in January to February, so it is advised that people get vaccinated in the fall to give the vaccine enough time to work when they need it most.
Click here to view our complete Flu Clinic Schedule: Flu schedule 2017
Here is some information about the flu and this year’s vaccine.
What is the Flu (Influenza)?
Influenza (flu) is a serious lung disease caused by a virus, which spreads from person to person. Influenza can cause:
• Fever • Chills
• Cough • Headache
• Muscle aches • Sore throat
It can also lead to pneumonia and death. Influenza can make people of any age ill. Although most people are ill for only a few days, some have a more serious illness and need to be hospitalized. Thousands die each year from influenza-related illnesses. Most deaths from influenza are in people over the age of 50.
Who Should Get the Vaccine?
• All persons aged 6 months and older
• Adults and children with chronic medical conditions
• Anyone taking long-term steroids, receiving cancer treatment or with HIV infection
• Children and teenagers on long-term aspirin therapy.
• Household members (including children) and caregivers of all at-risk persons
• Health care workers
• Residents and employees of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
• Students and others in institutional settings
• Pregnant women
• Anyone who wants to decrease the chance of getting the flu
• Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age
(these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Will the Vaccine Keep Me from Getting the Flu?
• The vaccination will protect most people from most strains of influenza. Since the virus changes frequently, the vaccine is updated yearly.
• The vaccine will begin to provide its protective effect after one or two weeks and will last several months.
• Flu shots will not protect all persons who get them against influenza, but should at least decrease the severity of the illness.
• Flu shots will not protect you against other illnesses, which may resemble the flu.
Components of the 2017-2018 Vaccine
The influenza vaccine protects you against strains of influenza expected to be most prevalent each year. For the 2017-2018 season (Northern Hemisphere winter), trivalent vaccines are recommended to contain: A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus, B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage). Four-component vaccines, Quadrivalent, will include the same viruses plus an additional flu B virus called B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).
Possible Side Effects
Most people have no side effects from the flu shot. The most common reaction is soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site for a day or two. Occasionally, persons may experience a fever or achiness for one or two days. As with any drug or vaccine, there is a slight possibility that an allergic reaction, or even death, could occur. THE VACCINE CANNOT CAUSE INFLUENZA. REPIRATORY ILLNESS AFTER VACCINATION IS COINCIDENTAL AND UNRELATED TO THE VACCINATION.
DO NOT TAKE THIS SHOT IF:
• YOU HAVE A SEVERE ALLERGY TO EGGS, THIMEROSAL (PRESERVATIVE) or LATEX
• YOU HAVE EVER HAD A SERIOUS REACTION TO A FLU SHOT.
• YOU HAVE A FEVER. (Delay the shot until the fever is gone.)
CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING THE SHOT IF:
• YOU HAVE EVER HAD GUILLAIN-BARRE SYNDROME
• YOU ARE PREGNANT IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER OR NURSING.
If you have any questions about influenza or the influenza vaccination ask now or call your physician or local Department of Health before requesting this vaccine.
If you become ill and visit the doctor, hospital or clinic in the four weeks after today’s shot, please report this to VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice.