It is the start of flu season in the northern hemisphere. Time to think about where YOU are going to be getting your seasonal flu shot (vaccine is available now and you should get your flu shot ASAP this year).
Remember that pulmonary infections and respiratory failure remain the #1 cause of death long-term in SCI, and it is very easy for the flu to turn into pneumonia or ARDS for someone with a SCI. Every year, 40,000 people in the USA die from seasonal flu. While the flu shot is not a 100% guarantee you will not get the flu, if you do, and were immunized, it will be less severe.
In my area (SoCal) we just had the first flu related death in a 70 yo woman. This is probably going to be a big flu year.
While flu activity usually peaks in January or February, the flu itself is unpredictable. And although there are many different flu viruses, the yearly flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common that flu season.
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year, especially if you are at high risk for complications or you live with or care for someone who is, including the following groups:
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (including SCI and spinal cord diseases).
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- Health care workers
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from 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)
New Flu Information for 2016-2017
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors? visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications. This page summarizes information for the 2016-2017 flu season.
What?s new this flu season?A few things are new this season:
- Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use this season.
- Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
- There will be some new vaccines on the market this season.
- The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed.
What flu vaccines are recommended this season?This season, only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) should be used. Some flu shots protect against three flu viruses and some protect against four flu viruses.
Options this season include:
- Standard dose flu shots(http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/flushot.htm). Most are given into the muscle (usually with a needle, but one can be given to some people with a jet injector). One is given into the skin.
- A high-dose shot(http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/qa_fluzone.htm) for older people.
- A shot made with adjuvant(http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/adjuvant.htm) for older people.
- A shot made with virus grown in cell culture(http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/cell-based.htm).
- A shot made using a vaccine production technology (recombinant vaccine(http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vacci...ok-vaccine.htm)) that does not require the use of flu virus.
Live attenuated influenza vaccine(http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/20...-laiv-flu.html) (LAIV) ? or the nasal spray vaccine ? is not recommended for use during the 2016-2017 season because of concerns about its effectiveness.
There is a table(http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccines.htm) showing all the influenza vaccines that are FDA-approved for use in the United States during the 2016-2017 season.
What viruses do 2016-2017 flu vaccines protect against?There are many flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common. For 2016-2017, three-component vaccines are recommended to contain:
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus,
- A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus and a
- B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).
Four component vaccines are recommended to include the same three viruses above, plus an additional B virus called B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).
When and how often should I get vaccinated?Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible. However, getting vaccinated later is OK. Vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later. Some children who have received flu vaccine previously and children who have only received one dose in their lifetime, may need two doses of flu vaccine. A health care provider can advise on how many doses a child should get.
Can I get a flu vaccine if I am allergic to eggs?(http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vacci...-allergies.htm)The recommendations for people with egg allergies have been updated for this season.
- People who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg can get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health.
- People who have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs, such as angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis; or who have needed epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention, also can get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health, but the vaccine should be given in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions. (Settings include hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices). People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving their vaccine.