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About the Flu and Flu Shot

The influenza virus can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or nasal secretions causing what we call the Flu.

Anyone can get the Flu, but rates of infection are highest among children. For most people, symptoms last only a few days. They include:

  • fever/chills
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • headache
  • runny or stuffy nose

Other illnesses can have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for influenza. 

Young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions – such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system – are at a higher risk. Flu can cause high fever and pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. Each year thousands of people die from flu and even more require hospitalization.

By getting a flu vaccine you can protect yourself from flu and may also avoid spreading flu to others.

Sansum Clinic will administering a preservative free quadrivalent inactivated flu vaccine (IIV) at our Flu Shot Clinics. 

Influenza viruses are always changing, so annual vaccination is recommended. Each year scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most likely to cause flu that year. This year’s seasonal flu vaccine provides protection against 3 different flu viruses: 2 influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus. Flu vaccine will not prevent disease from other viruses, including flu viruses not contained in the vaccine.

It takes up to 2 weeks for protection to develop after the shot and will last about a year.

Who should get the flu vaccine and when?

All people 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine.

Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe flu and their close contacts, including healthcare personnel and close contacts of children younger than 6 months.

Get the vaccine as soon as it is available. This should provide protection if the flu season comes early.

Flu can occur at any time, but most flu occurs from October through May. In recent seasons, most infections have occurred in January and February. Getting vaccinated in December, or even later, will still be beneficial in most years.

Adults and older children need one dose of flu vaccine each year. But some children younger than 9 years of age need two doses to be protected. Ask your doctor about vaccinating your child.

Flu vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including pneumococcal vaccine.

Some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician.

Tell your doctor if you have any severe (life-threatening) allergies, including a severe allergy to eggs. A severe allergy to any vaccine component may be a reason not to get the vaccine. Allergic reactions to flu vaccine are rare.

Tell your doctor if you ever had a severe reaction after a flu shot.

Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS). Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.

People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting flu vaccine. If you are ill, talk to your doctor about whether to reschedule the vaccination. People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.

If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your health care provider.

A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.

The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely rare. The viruses in inactivated flu vaccine have been killed, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.  

The safety of vaccines is always being monitored.

Some mild problems can include:

  • soreness
  • redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • hoarsenes
  • sore, red or itchy eyes
  • cough
  • fever
  • aches
  • headache
  • itching
  • fatigue

If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and may last 1-2 days.

Young children who get inactivated flu vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13) at the same time appear to be at increased risk for seizures caused by fever. Ask your doctor for more information and tell your doctor if a child who is getting flu vaccine has ever had a seizure.

After the Flu shot look for any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.
 

In this case, you should:

Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away.

Tell the doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.

If you would like to make an appointment with your primary care provider to receive your flu shot for 2015, please call 1-800 4 SANSUM, that’s 1-800-472-6786.


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