2016-12-21 / Front Page

Health officials urge flu vaccines with rising influenza activity

by Kate Evans

The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging that everyone six months of age and older get their annual seasonal flu vaccine now if they have not already had their flu shot.

Pneumonia vaccines are also recommended for children and adults of all ages. Children and people 65 years of age and older are the most susceptible to pneumonia.

A December 9 CDC report noted that only two out of every five people in the United States reported they’d received their 2016-2017 seasonal flu shot as of early November. The agency said that influenza vaccinations prevented an estimated five million cases of flu in the 2015-2016 flu season along with 71,000 potential hospitalizations.

Flu vaccines provide protection from influenza and prevent flu-related complications, missed work and school, hospitalizations and death in many people each year.

While national flu activity is currently low, flu activity is rising and is sporadic in West Virginia and localized in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Influenza-like activity was at normal levels throughout the region for the week ending December 10.

Typically flu season peaks between December and March each year. People should remember that it takes around two weeks for the flu vaccine to provide protection from influenza infection.

Flu and pneumonia vaccines are available through county health departments, family physicians and pharmacies. Flu symptoms, complications

Influenza symptoms usually are fever, cough or sore throat and can also include headache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, chills or body aches. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can also occur, especially in children.

Influenza can cause serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. Complications can require hospitalization and become life-threatening or fatal. Influenza can also worsen chronic medical conditions such as asthma or congestive heart disease.

High-risk

Individuals at high risk of developing flu complications include children under age five, especially those under age two, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and nursing home and longterm care facility residents.

Others at high risk include those with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney or liver disorders and those with weakened or suppressed immune systems.

Seasonal influenza vaccination is very important for those at high risk of flu-related complications, for caretakers and family members of those individuals and also health care personnel.

Talk to your doctor

Check the CDC website vaccine guidelines and talk with your doctor about what flu and pneumonia vaccine options are best for you and family members. Family physicians know their patients’ medical history and review what vaccines they’ve had.

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Multi-dose flu shot vials

Multi-dose flu shot vials contain thimerosal (mercury). Ask the doctor to get you the flu shot without this preservative! If they won't, then skip it and build your immunity with vitamin C, vitamin D, etc. and wash your hands! The flu shot last year was only 18% effective, and even less effective in older adults.