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National Influenza Vaccination Week December 4 – 11 2017

Is It Too Late This Season?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing to get flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, getting the flu vaccine can still provide protection against flu. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February in the United States, although activity can last well into the month of May.

This season flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks; the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely you are to be protected against flu when activity picks up in your community. Visit the:
CDC’s influenza summary map for a weekly update on flu activity in the United States and Nebraska.

This week in December is picked because flu vaccination coverage estimates from past seasons have shown that few people get vaccinated against influenza after the end of November, and here is what is known:

  • Last season only about 40% of the US population who were recommended to get a flu vaccine got it by November’s end.
  • CDC and its partners choose December for NIVW to remind people that even though the holiday season has begun, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. In fact as long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season in order to protect as many people as possible.
  • Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).
  • The vaccine is not a live virus and can’t make you sick. There can be side-effects from the vaccine that are minor and resolve in a few days.
  • This season, CDC recommends the use of injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) only. This season 2017-2018, nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for anyone.
  • It takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu.

The Greater Flu Complications

Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection alone or from co-infection with the flu virus and bacteria.

Other possible serious complications triggered by flu can include inflammation of the:

  • heart (myocarditis)
  • brain (encephalitis)
  • muscle tissues (myositis)
  • multi-organ failure (rhabdomyolysis)

Flu virus infection can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection.

Flu also can make chronic medical problems worse.

For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have flu, and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by flu.
Flu vaccination and the appropriate use of flu antiviral medicines are very important for people who are at high risk of serious flu-related complications.

Flu Vaccination for People at High Risk

Another goal of NIVW is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications.

  1. People at high risk of serious flu complications include:
    • young children
    • pregnant women
    • people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease
    • people aged 65 years and older
  2. For people at high risk, getting the flu can be more serious than for other people, and is more likely to lead to hospitalization or death.
  3. Flu vaccine uptake estimates among adults 50 years and older fell by 3 percentage points last year. That means many more adults were left vulnerable to flu and its complications.
  4. Anyone who gets flu can pass it to someone at high risk of severe illness, including infants younger than 6 months who are too young to get the vaccine.

Flu Vaccination is especially important for:

  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including
    1. Health care personnel
    2. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    3. Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age since these children are too young to be vaccinated.

Know How to Help Yourself

In addition to getting your flu vaccine this season, CDC also urges you to take everyday preventive actions to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu.

This includes the following:

  1. Avoid close contact with sick people.
  2. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  3. If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or necessities.
  4. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand rub.
  6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  7. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.

The Right Treatment

If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, inhaled powder, or injectable medicine) and are not available over-the-counter.

Antiviral drugs can make flu illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. CDC recommends that antiviral drugs be used early to treat hospitalized patients with flu, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health.

In some cases antiviral medication could be given as a preventative medicine to several members of a family with young children or in care settings to help prevent the spread of the flu as well.

Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness instead of a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

Visit What
You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs
to learn more about antiviral drugs .

Can I get a flu vaccine with an egg Allergy? YES!

Most flu vaccines administered today are manufactured using chicken eggs and contain trace amounts of a protein called ovalbumin. However recent research and findings have been published from the “Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology” found the flu shot to be safe and recommended its use for people who are allergic to eggs for this flu season October 2017 to May 2018.

“People with egg allergy of any severity can receive the influenza vaccine without any special precautions,” said Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, the paper’s lead author and chairman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Food Allergy Committee.
The new findings mean that even more people will be able to get their recommended flu shot without sacrificing peace of mind.
Greenhawt, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado, estimates that egg allergy affects 2% of children in the United States.

“It’s very rare to see an adult with egg allergy — not impossible,” he said. “One redeeming quality about egg allergy is that the majority of it is outgrown at some point in childhood, with a very small proportion of individuals retaining that into adulthood. … It’s primarily a pediatric problem.”

According to a press release accompanying the new report, it is no longer necessary to:

  • See an allergy specialist for the flu shot.
  • Give special flu shots that don’t contain traces of egg.
  • Require longer-than-normal observation periods after the shot.
  • Ask about egg allergy before giving the vaccine.

The new guidelines are the result of an analysis of 28 studies involving thousands of people with egg allergy, including hundreds with severe egg allergy.

The researchers concluded that someone who is allergic to eggs is not at an increased risk of experiencing an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine.

“That doesn’t rule out that somebody might react to the influenza vaccine,” Greenhawt said. “Any provider who’s giving vaccines needs to be prepared to recognize and manage an adverse reaction to a vaccine, including a severe reaction like anaphylaxis.”

New Egg Allergy Recommendations:GET THE SHOT

For those with previous known egg allergies unable to get the flu vaccine as a result this is NOW the 2017-2018 recommendation:

  1. People who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg can get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health.
  2. People who have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs, such as:
    • angioedema, respiratory distress
    • lightheadedness
    • recurrent emesis
    • those who have needed epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention

    …can also get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health, but the vaccine should be given in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions. (Settings include hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices).

  3. People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving their vaccine.

Understanding The Implications of Cell-Based Vaccines

Why is it significant that a cell-grown vaccine reference virus (H3N2) was used to produce flu vaccine?

Cell-grown reference viruses do not have the changes that are present in egg-grown reference viruses, so they should be more similar to circulating “wild-type” viruses. Vaccine effectiveness depends in part on the match between the vaccine virus and circulating flu viruses.

Gastroenteritis or Influenza? Sorting it ALL OUT!

Sometimes people mistake symptoms of stomach flu, or gastroenteritis , for the viral infection we commonly call ” flu. But they’re not the same.

Stomach flu happens when your stomach and intestines (also called the gastrointestinal or GI tract) are inflamed and irritated. These causes range from bacteria, viruses, and parasites to food reactions and unclean water.

Unlike influenza which comes with symptoms like fever, congestion, muscle aches, and fatigue. the more severe cases can lead to life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia , and are treated with antiviral medicines.

Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat bacterial gastroenteritis, but they don’t work against flu viruses.

What Are the Symptoms of Stomach Flu?

They can include:

  • Cramps in your belly or sides
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

You may also have a fever, headache, and possibly swollen lymph glands, depending on the type of germ that is causing your particular illness.

In severe cases, days of throwing up and having diarrhea (or both) can cause your body to lose a lot of moisture. If you lose too much, you may need medical attention. Sometimes it can be life threatening.

Signs to watch for include:

  1. Sunken eyes
  2. Lightheadedness
  3. Being more thirsty
  4. Dry or sticky mouth
  5. Lack of normal elasticity of the skin
  6. Peeing less
  7. Fewer tears

You can avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of liquids. When you can keep food down again, try bland things like toast, rice, bananas, and applesauce first. Go back to a normal diet within 24 hours if you can.

What Causes Stomach Flu?

Many things cause gastroenteritis, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, dairy products, and poor hygiene.

Bacteria that cause gastroenteritis include:

  • E. coli
  • Campylobacter
  • Shigella
  • Salmonella

Viruses cause close to half of all gastroenteritis cases in adults and even more in children. Some of them may include:

  • Norovirus or Norwalk-like virus
  • Adenovirus
  • Rotavirus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Viral hepatitis

Stomach viruses spread fast because people don’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper. Many doctors call stomach flu “a family affair” because it’s so highly contagious it can affect every member of a family.

Know the differences between stomach and respitory flu so you can react when you need to and with the right medicines and treatments best for your condition. WASH your hands well and often!

Vaccine Links

UNICEF on 7 Deadly diseases Vaccine and what impact Immunization: the story so far is for each one, like , Small pox and Malaria. Fascinating read!

Here’s one from The College of Physicians of Philadelphia explaining some of the Misconceptions about Vaccines, and their history. This also shows how slow some sciences can move even if they seemingly have an answer like in how effective the flu vaccine is right now, compared to what it could look like in the future once the right combination for the ultimate flu vaccine is found.

Well there ya go! Here is some on the science of why we can’t have a flu vaccine yet that doesn’t have to be given each season. from Science Daily, Why you need one vaccine for measles and many for the flu? After reading you’ll get it too. It’s all in the science, don’t ya know!

And because I can’t pass on a good Wiki here’s this one, HIV vaccine Wikipedia and I recommend a bookmark to it, too. What might the future hold for HIV vaccine? Time will tell…!

Lily says…And to those people out there who say, “I neverget the flu shot because I never get the flu!” Bully for you!
And thanks for not thinking about the rest of us who don’t want to get sick, get hospitalized due to severe flu complications or must watch a loved one die simply because some people choose not to get vaccinated.
And for those who say, “It always makes me sick…” you don’t get it! Since the vaccine takes about two (2) weeks to reach its full protection a person could be exposed to the virus during the time after vaccination which makes it seem like the vaccine gives it to you. This is simply not scientifically-based and its just pure BS!
From my experience having a slight reaction from receiving the vaccine which is rare even for me someone with HIV, it still lessens the severity of the flu and keeps me out of the “Big House” the hospital
I hope for those who choose not to get vaccinated the best and I hope they don’t have to learn their lesson the hard way…Because those body aches super SUCK! I wouldn’t wish them on anyone I LOVE or didn’t even like too much!
Even though this year I got influenza, I called my doc within 24 hours of the first symptom and it only took a couple of weeks before I felt functional again. Maybe another week or so before I could climb all my stairs without a wheeze or two. (Don’t tell Mom on me!)
For me and mine it is worth any discomfort the vaccine could possibly give me or them.
A nurse told me many years ago to get the vaccine in the arm I use the most as moving that muscle will help the vaccine get into my body quicker and reduce days of muscle pain from not using it.
Good advice, and worth passing along.
Dare to dream that someday Flu vaccine could be just as effective as with three shots of polio vaccine at 98+% and the measles at approximately 80 to 95% with one shot and 99+% after two shots. Right now, a few shots sound amazing to me, and then bam no more HIV! Huh…
Flu season isn’t officially over until May 2018, so be on your toes or is that wash your digits constantly until June for best protection results!
And for Pete’s SAKE-don’t be a wimp – Get the flu vaccine if you haven’t already!