This flu season, the nasal vaccine, which allows patients to get protected without an injection, protects against four strains of influenza but is recommended only for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49. The injection (FluLaval shot), however, is approved by the FDA for ages 6 months and older. Your healthcare professional can help you determine which form of the vaccine is best for you.
Although cases occur throughout the year, flu season typically runs from October through April and healthcare professionals are predicting outbreaks to peak earlier than usual this year – mirroring last season when flu cases began to peak in November and December instead of the more typical month of February.
“I highly encourage everyone to get vaccinated if for no other reason than to protect others around you and slow the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich, Chief Medical Officer for MHM Urgent Care and Coroner for Jefferson Parish. “Louisiana experienced higher-than-
Flu viruses change over time and new strains emerge that may not be recognized by the immune system. The influenza vaccine helps build immunity to these new flu virus strains. Each year, the flu vaccine is made from the strains of virus that are most likely to cause the disease that year. While flu vaccine cannot prevent all cases of flu, it is the best defense available against the disease.
The seasonal flu vaccine requires one dose for most people. Children between the ages of six months and nine years require two doses, separated by 28 days. It takes up to 2 weeks for maximum protection to develop after the vaccination, and protection lasts from several months up to one year. It is always best to have the vaccine administered where a physician and a fully-equipped medical supporting staff are available in case of side effects.
Symptoms of the flu virus, including body aches, fever, chills, congestion, and sore throat, can last for several days. Without proper medical attention, the virus can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, or even death.
Approximately 24,000-35,000 Americans die each flu season* as a result of influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. People who are at a high-risk of developing flu related complications include children, the elderly, pregnant women, the immuno-compromised and people with underlying medical conditions.
Studies have shown that vaccinations decrease the likelihood of contracting the flu virus and decrease the severity of symptoms if the flu virus is contracted.
For more information on flu vaccinations or other health-related issues, visit MyHealthcareMatters .com or an MHM Urgent Care location near you.