Influenza 2012 - 2013
The flu is hitting fast and hard this year, according to the CDC. Most of the country, including Indiana, has higher levels of flu in January than they did last year. But it is not too late to get vaccinated! The flu season still has a ways to go. Getting vaccinated now may protect you and your family from coming down with the flu.
Things to know:
- You can NOT get the flu from the flu vaccine!
- If you get vaccinated, you can still get the flu. The current vaccine is said to be 62% effective, meaning that 4 out of 10 vaccinated people can still get the flu. However, the vaccine tends to make the illness less severe.
- The prominent flu strain this year is H3N2.
- Flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months.
- There is a nasal spray called FluMist for those afraid of needles! It uses a live, weakened strain of the virus. It is not approved for everyone, so check with your doctor if interested.
- There is a new dermal vaccine with a very short needle that only goes into the skin, not the muscle.
- You can find providers with vaccine at www.Flu.gov.
- The vaccine will start protecting you about two weeks after you get it.
- Taking viral medication within the first 2 days of illness can reduce severity of symptoms.
- Children under age 9 should get two shots 1 month apart unless they have received two vaccinations for seasonal influenza since July 1, 2010. Ask your pediatrician for more specific information.
According to the CDC, the following groups of people have a greater risk of complications from getting the flu and are especially encouraged to get vaccinated:
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 5 years (but 6 months or older)
- All household contacts and caregivers of children under the age of 6 months
- Health care workers or those who live with a health care worker
- People who have chronic health problems, including lung, heart, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, anemia, severe asthma and others
- Household contacts of those with chronic health problems
- People who live in a nursing home or extended care facilities
- People who have a weakened immune system
You should NOT get the vaccine if you:
- Had a severe allergic reaction to chickens or eggs (a mild egg allergy is generally ok)
- Have a fever or illness other than a cold
- Had a moderate to severe reaction after getting a previous flu vaccine
- Developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within 6 weeks after receiving a flu vaccine
Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
Information is from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control.