Submitted by Rob Bean RPh, Axline Pharmacy
No, it’s not foolproof. But an annual flu vaccine is a great way to insure against the flu. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. It’s designed to protect against the three or four flu viruses most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season.
For most people, a flu vaccine can protect you throughout the flu season, which typically lasts from October to May. The best policy? Get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available, ideally in October.
For Young Kids
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the nasal spray vaccine for healthy children ages 2 through 8. For young children, it may work better than the flu shot (and be a little less scary, too). But if it’s not available early in the flu season, don’t wait. Go ahead with the flu shot.
Remember: even healthy children are at risk of flu complications that are serious enough to land them in the hospital. Signs of pneumonia include chest pain and fast, difficult breathing.
If You’re Pregnant
In recent years, several studies have shown that the flu vaccine is safe and effective, no matter your stage of pregnancy. The flu shot protects both you and your baby. In fact, it is much more dangerous not to be vaccinated. In addition to pneumonia, the flu can lead to premature labor and other complications.
However, if you’re pregnant, just given birth, or are breast-feeding, don’t get the live (nasal mist) vaccine. You should have an inactivated version instead.
If You’re Over 65
As you age, the flu vaccine may not last as well as it does in younger, healthier people. If you’re over 65 or have a weaker immune system, you may not create as many antibodies. And, your antibody levels may drop more quickly.
A recent study has found that a high-dose flu shot is more effective in seniors than the standard dose. Approved for people 65 and older, the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times as much as the standard dose. With its use, the researchers believe that about 25 percent of flu cases in seniors could be prevented.
The CDC doesn’t recommend this vaccine for all seniors, though. Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist to see if it’s right for you or someone your love.
Other ways to stay healthy — and keep others healthier — throughout flu season:
• Wash your hands regularly.
• Stay away from sick people — as much as possible.
• If you come down with the flu, stay home. After all, your productivity won’t matter as much if you make everyone at your workplace sick!
Axline Pharmacy is independently owned and offers free delivery. Pharmacists Rob Bean and Troy Williams are committed to their patients and have initiated the NCPA’s “Simplify My Meds” program. Flu shots are available by appointment. You may contact them by calling 309-828-6767 or stop by 1210 Towanda Ave.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
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