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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Flu Shots...Important Information

So with flu season rapidly approaching...I want to provide some information to my readers about this year's flu shots to answer some important questions.

Flu shots are recommended for all children over the age of 6 months.  The flu can be a serious illness in any child, regardless of their previous health status.  If you have a child under 6 months, the best way to protect them from the flu is to get yourself immunized.  Unfortunately, the most devastating effects of the flu can be seen in infants, so be sure to protect yourself and your baby.

Essentially, the only TRUE contraindication to the flu shot is an egg allergy (or a history of Gullian Barre Syndrome within 6 weeks of a flu shot, though this is RARE).  Both the intramuscular vaccine and the nasal mist are manufactured inside of eggs, so egg allergy means no vaccine and even more frequent hand washing.

Though the H1N1 pandemic officially ended this summer, there is still a risk for this type of flu.  This year's flu shot is a COMBINATION of the H1N1 shot and the seasonal flu vaccine.  Though there were (unwarranted) concerns early last year about the safety of H1N1 vaccine, millions and millions of doses were given last year with no increase in adverse events reported.

For kids:  Who needs what and when...

<6 MTHS

NO SHOT
6 MTHS -  8 YEARS
NO PREVIOUS SEASONAL FLU SHOT
2 SHOTS, SEPARATED BY 4 WEEKS

PREVIOUS SEASONAL FLU SHOT,
BUT NO H1N1 SHOT
2 SHOTS , SEPARATED BY 4 WEEKS

PREVIOUS FLU SHOT & AT LEAST 1 DOSE OF H1NI LAST YEAR
1 SHOT
>9 YEARS
REGARDLESS OF PREVIOUS IMMUNIZATION STATUS
1 SHOT

This year, as in years past, there will be 2 forms of the flu vaccine available.  The Flu Mist is a live form of the flu virus and can be given to healthy children over age 2 without any lung problems or immune compromise.  There is a risk of MILD upper respiratory congestion with the flu mist.  The intramuscular vaccine is available as well and this is a KILLED form of the flu virus.  You cannot get sick from the flu shot.


There is even more recent data proving that there is NO association of autism with vaccine preservatives (thimerosal).  However, there is plenty of preservative free vaccine available.  All vaccines for children under 36 months is preservative free.  The preservative free vaccine is in the individually stored syringes and does not need to be drawn up by the nurse.  Ask your doctor what type of vaccine they are using if you are concerned.


The best time to get the flu shot is EARLY IN THE SEASON.  The immunity will last well beyond this flu season and there is no sense in being unprotected early in the season. So, call your doctor and find out if they have received their shipments of shots.  And don't forget the importance of hand washing!

Click here for more information from our friends at the CDC.


Stay healthy!!

16 comments:

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