Back to School Equals Flu Prevention Time
Fall is upon us. This is the time of year when we think about going back to school, football season and raking leaves. It should also be the time we think about flu prevention.
Flu season typically starts in October and lasts until April, with peaks in January and February. However, there have been flu seasons that have started as early as September. That is why back to school time is the best time to think about getting your flu vaccine. Other than hand washing, immunization is the best way to keep from getting the flu.
Vaccines for influenza are updated every year based on the most prominent strains circulating the globe. Most physician offices are stocked with influenza vaccine by September. Because it can take up to six weeks for your body to make enough antibodies against the flu, it is important that you get your flu vaccine as soon as possible. If you have diabetes, heart disease, asthma, COPD or a weakened immune system, it is even more important for you to get your vaccine early.
1) When is it too late to get a flu vaccine?
Never! Although you ideally want to get your flu vaccine before the season starts, there is evidence which shows getting the vaccine late in the season can still prevent the flu and may even help to shorten the course of the illness.
2) Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?
No! There are two types of flu vaccine – inactivated and attenuated. In both forms, the virus is not able to cause disease but can turn on the body’s immune system. There are side effects from flu vaccine including mild fever and body aches. These usually subside in 24-48 hours. In most cases, people who are sick after receiving the flu vaccine most likely have a different viral infection or unfortunately were exposed to the flu before they received their vaccine.
3) Which flu vaccine should I get, the injected one or the nasal spray?
Currently, it is recommended all healthy children, ages two to eight years old, receive the intranasal vaccine. There are studies that show children respond best to this vaccine and it helps prevent the spread of the virus. The injected vaccine is recommended for children, age six months to two years, and adults over 49 years of age. It is recommended any person with diabetes, heart disease, asthma or COPD receive the injected vaccine.
Make sure to consult with your doctor about which flu vaccine is right for you and your family.
Robert Poth, MD is the Chief of Pediatrics at High Point Regional and a pediatrician with Regional Physicians Pediatrics. Dr. Poth specializes in pediatric diagnostic medicine. He is board certified in pediatrics and has been caring for the medical needs of children for more than 15 years.
Dr. Poth, his wife and their two children, live in High Point. He is looking forward to getting to know you and your family and providing you with exceptional family-center medical care. Dr. Poth is excited to be a part of the community here in the Triad and—excited to bring Pediatrics back to High Point Regional.
Regional Physicians Pediatrics opens October 1, 2014, serving children from newborn to age 21. Our office is located at 404 Westwood Avenue, Suite 207 in High Point. We accept all insurance and welcome new patients. To make an appointment with Dr. Poth, please call (336) 878-MD4u (6348).