Are You Protected From the Flu?

Posted by Mama Yauk Friday, August 19, 2011 0 comments

Nassau University Medical Center
2201 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, NY 11554
www.nuhealth.net     516-572-5809
 * * * Press Release ***

Flu season is quickly approaching. Although the influenza vaccines are unchanged from last season, everyone older than 6 months of age is still recommended by the CDC to get vaccinated. This season’s vaccine again will protect against the pandemic H1N1 virus, as well as an H3N2 and a B strain (MedPageToday.com).
Are you a member of healthcare personnel or pregnant? If so, you are among certain groups identified as high priorities for receiving vaccination. For nurses, PA’s, doctors, etc. not only are you protecting yourself from the virus; you are also protecting any patient you encounter. According to an article published by Med Page Today, nearly all of those who worked at a facility that required vaccination (98%) were vaccinated, but without the requirement, only 58%.
Each year, more than 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to influenza (CDC). Included within the high priority groups are children between the age of 6 months and 5 years old. The vaccine is not available for those under the age of 6 months, therefore anyone who is in contact with an infant should be vaccinated to protect the baby.  
One group that might not need as much vaccine as in previous years are children between the age of 5 and 9. Typically children need two doses per season to be protected. Because the strains protected in this season’s vaccine are the same as last, children who received at least one dose of vaccine last season only need one more dose for this season.  
If you have an egg allergy, which in previous years has posed a problem for receiving flu vaccinations, new recommendations have arrived according to Med Page Today. If you break out in hives after exposure to eggs, you can still receive the influenza vaccine but “should receive the trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) rather than the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV),” (MedPageToday.com). In addition, you should be vaccinated by “a healthcare provider who is familiar with potential manifestations of egg allergy, and should be observed for at least 30 minutes following administrations,” (MedPageToday.com). If you have more severe allergic reactions to egg, ask your doctor to refer you to a physician with “expertise in the management of allergies or further risk assessment,” (MedPageToday.com).
Flu season can begin as early as October therefore the CDC recommends influenza vaccination begin as soon as it becomes available near you.

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