FLU SEASON IS UPON US
BY: Leonid Sorkin MD, FACOG
The FLU, medically known as Influenza, is an acute respiratory illness caused by Influenza viruses A and B. The viruses are prevalent in winter. On the East Coast that means October through March with the highest occurrences in December and February. Influenza A and B mutate or change forms every season so last years vaccine will not protect against this years viruses.
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid contact with people plagued by the FLU and to GET VACCINATED. The vaccines are antibodies designed to attack THIS YEARS Influenza A and B by attacking specific antigens, or parts of the viruses. There are various forms of the vaccine and they are all FDA APPROVED.
The Standard-dose Trivalent and Quadrivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine is a 15mcg of Hemagglutinin per virus vaccine. It is administered by intramuscular injection annually to people aged 18-64.
The High Dose Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine is a 60 mcg of Hemagglutinin per virus vaccine. It is administered by intramuscular injection annually to people age 65 and older.
Quadrivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine produced in cultured cells is recommended to children 4 years and older.
Standard-dose quadrivalent LAIV is a live vaccine that is administered intranasally. It is recommended in kids 2 years and up until age 49. HOWEVER BECAUSE THE VACCINE IS COMPOSED OF LIVE VIRUSES, IT IS CONTRAINDICATED IN PREGNANCY.
MANY OF MY PATIENTS ARE FEARFUL OF GETTING THE FLU SHOT.
Some of my patients complain that they have gotten sick despite having had the FLU SHOT (vaccine). I remind them that because the FLU is caused by viruses that are constantly changing, it isn’t 100%. HOWEVER, the FLU SHOT has been shown to decrease your risk of getting sick by as much as 60%. AND, it’s been shown to lower FLU-related hospitalizations by as much as 80%. Therefore, the CDC and the ACIP highly recommend the FLU SHOT.
Some of my patients complain that they have gotten sick after getting the FLU SHOT. I remind these patients that getting a FLU SHOT CANNOT cause the FLU illness. FLU SHOTS are composed of inactivated FLU virus particles. Some people do experience mild side effects after getting a FLU SHOT including soreness where the shot was given, low grade fever, headaches and achiness. These side effects are minor and brief considering the severity of getting sick with the FLU.
The FLU SHOT is a safe, inexpensive and effective way to lower your risk of getting sick this FLU SEASON.
Have a safe and healthy FLU SEASON!
BE AWARE AND TAKE CARE of your health