The newsLINK Group - Flu Season

Editorial Library Category: Medical | Pediatrics for Patients Topics: Flu Title: Flu Season Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Every flu season is different because the flu virus is always mutating. That means medical scientists have to come up with a new vaccine every year. Here’s what you need to know about the flu vaccine for this year. Editorial: Flu Season 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Every flu season is different because the flu virus is always mutating. That means medical scientists have to come up with a new vaccine every year. Here’s what you need to know about the flu vaccine for this year. You Should Vaccinate Your Children The flu virus is a common disease to get, but it is also unpredictable the way it affects people. Even though people tend to think of it as a minor disease, sometimes the complications are serious, and people die from influenza every year. Although getting a flu shot does not mean you are guaranteed not to get the flu, it is the best weapon available. Keep in mind that the antiviral treatments developed by medical scientists are expensive, less effective than a flu shot, and have side effects. Not vaccinating your children puts them and everyone they spend time with in danger. Five to ten percent of the people in the U.S. get the flu every year. Of that number, more than 200,000 will end up in the hospital with serious complications. Of those who died from the flu last year, 145 were children. The flu season last year was more severe than usual because the main strain infecting people, H3N2, was not in the vaccine. It’s in the vaccine this year. What other preventive measures should you consider? Wash your hands thoroughly, use hand sanitizer when appropriate, and stay away from people who are sick. The U.S. Needs to Improve Vaccination Rates Only half the U.S. population gets vaccinated each year. That’s even true for pregnant women. However, that means the people who don’t get vaccinated are ignoring the recommendations of the experts. Many medical organizations endorse flu shots for children, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In particular, these organizations recommend annual immunizations for the following populations: Anyone over the age of six months. That includes older children and teenagers. Anyone who has contact with people suffering from asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or a weakened immune system. Pregnant women. One reason why the flu vaccination becomes so important to these populations is because they are at higher risk for developing pneumonia afterward, and pneumonia is a killer. Get Vaccinated Soon Manufacturers intend to produce between 171 and 179 million doses of flu vaccine this year. There’s plenty available for you and your family. The sooner people are vaccinated, the sooner they can benefit from it. The big push for vaccination begins each year in the fall and continues through the winter. Younger children might need two doses of the vaccine in order for it to be effective, especially in cases where those children have never received a flu vaccination before. The two doses need to be spaced approximately four weeks apart for maximum effectiveness. If they don’t get both vaccinations in time, though, then they are at increased risk for catching the flu. People can get more than one vaccination at the same time as long as it is through a separate needle and in a separate location on the body from other shots. Consider Getting the Nasal Spray Do you or your children hate shots? The flu vaccine is available in a nasal spray. Healthy patients between the ages of 2 and 49 can use the quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4). For those between 6 months and 2 years or older than 49, there’s a shot: the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV). Even if you have to get a shot instead of the nasal spray, it’s not that bad. The needles are extremely fine and are less painful than larger needles.

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