Flu season is around the corner and while the flu activity is still low right now is the base time to get your flu shot. Many people may still wonder though if they truly need a flu vaccine. The new 2010-2011 flu vaccine has been updated this year to include protection against influenza B virus, the 2009 H1N1 virus and influenza A H3N2 virus.
Are you high risk?
People are considered at a higher risk for influenza and should be vaccinated if they fall under any of the below categories.
• Adults over the age of 65
• Children under the age of 5, especially less than 2 years of age.
• According to last flu season reports: American Indians and Alaskan Natives
• Pregnant women
• Peoples suffering from medical conditions including but not limited to: asthma, chronic lung diseases, kidney disorders, blood disorders, heart disease and endocrine disorders.
While children under the age of 6 months are at a very high risk for complications due to influenza they are too young to be vaccinated and all caregivers should be vaccinated to help prevent the spread of the flu to children under the age of 6 months.
Decide on if the flu shot or the nasal spray is the correct one for you by talking to your health care provider. The flu shot is given in a one dose seasonal vaccine or a two dose seasonal vaccine and will give depending on the criteria you fall under.
Know your flu vaccines:
Seasonal flu vaccine: is given routinely yearly, contains the influenza B virus, the 2009 H1N1 virus and the influenza A H3N2 virus.
Fluzone high-dose vaccine: contains 3 flu strains and contains 4 times of the antigen that the normal seasonal flu vaccine contains. This vaccine creates a stronger immune response in the patient obtaining the fluzone high-dose vaccine.
Pneumococcal vaccine: vaccine to prevent penemococcus bacterium that causes pneumonia. The pneumococcal vaccine protects against 23 of the common serotypes that cause pneumonia out of the 80 different serotypes. For children under 5 the recommended pneumococcal vaccine is the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine while people over 65 should receive the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
To find out what vaccines will better serve you this flu season talk to your health care provider and discuss your needs and concern. This will better prepare you to stay healthy and fit during the cold season and shorten the duration of any flu you may contract.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Seasonal Influenza