Annual Flu Season is Coming – Get Your Flu Shot

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                      Influenza vaccine is starting to arrive

                      at local health departments, pharmacies and health

                      care facilities around the state.  The Illinois

                      Department of Public Health, along with the Centers

                      for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is

                      recommending people get vaccinated as soon as

                      possible.

                      “I encourage everyone six months and older to be

                      vaccinated against influenza as soon as possible as

                      the vaccine takes about two weeks to provide

                      protection against influenza,” Illinois Department of

                      Public Health Dr. Damon T. Arnold said.  “Even if you

                      received a flu shot last year, it is important to be

                      vaccinated every year because the effectiveness of

                      the vaccine declines over the course of a year after

                      vaccination.”

                      The annual influenza vaccine includes three virus

                      strains and typically one, or all three strains,

                      change from year to year.  However, surveillance

                      showed the same viruses we saw last year continue to

                      be the predominant strains circulating this year,

                      therefore the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

                      chose the same three strains for this year’s vaccine.

                      Despite the vaccine being the same, for optimal

                      protection against influenza, it is still important

                      to be vaccinated again this year as the effectiveness

                      of last year’s vaccination is decreasing.

                      To be protected, children ages six months through

                      eight years need two doses of influenza vaccine

                      during their first flu season.  However, if children

                      in this age group received at least one dose of

                      vaccine last year, they will only need one dose this

                      year because the vaccine has not changed.  This year

                      is an exception.

                      “Every flu season is different and people are

                      affected by the flu differently.  Even healthy

                      children and adults can become very sick from the

                      flu,” Illinois Department of Public Health

                      Immunization Section Chief Karen McMahon said.

                      “There are some people who cannot be vaccinated, such

                      as babies younger than six months and those who are

                      allergic to the vaccine.  That’s why it is important

                      for those of us who can be vaccinate, to do so and

                      protect those vulnerable populations who could become

                      seriously ill.”

                      There is a new type of flu shot this year called

                      Fluzone Intradermal.  This intradermal shot injects a

                      smaller amount of vaccine just under the skin, as

                      opposed to the regular flu shot, which injects the

                      vaccine into the muscle.  For adults who don’t like

                      needles, the intradermal vaccine is given using a

                      needle that is 90 percent smaller than a regular flu

                      shot needle.  Fluzone is only recommended for adults,

                      ages 18-64 years.  The influenza vaccine is also

                      available in a nasal spray.  None of the three forms

                      of vaccine causes influenza.

                      This year’s flu vaccine is made in the same way as

                      past flu vaccines and has been approved by the FDA.

                      According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human

                      Services, an average of 100 million doses of

                      influenza vaccine has been used in the United States

                      each year and has an excellent safety record.

                      It is not too early to get your flu shot.  You can be

                      vaccinated in September and be protected throughout

                      the entire flu season.  The season typically runs

                      from October through May with the peak in January.

                      To reduce the spread of influenza and other

                      contagious diseases, it is always important to

                      practice the 3 C’s –

                      • Clean – properly wash your hands frequently

                      • Cover – cover your cough and sneeze

                      • Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you

                      are sick

                      For more information, log onto

                      www.idph.state.il.us/flu/index.htm.