Flu season 2016: What you should know

Flu season is approaching

Flu season is approaching.

 

What should I do to protect myself and my loved ones from flu this season?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. 

Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications, and their close contacts. 

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others. 

In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness. CDC recommends that people who are at high risk for serious flu complications who get flu symptoms during flu season be treated with influenza antiviral drugs as quickly as possible. 

When and how often should I get vaccinated?

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible. However, getting vaccinated later is OK. Vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later. Some children who have received flu vaccine previously and children who have only received one dose in their lifetime, may need two doses of flu vaccine. 

What viruses do 2016-2017 flu vaccines protect against?

There are many flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated to match circulating flu viruses.  For 2016-2017, three-component vaccines are recommended to contain: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus, A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).  Four component vaccines (quadrivalent) are recommended to include the same three viruses above, plus an additional B virus called B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).   

The recommendations for people with egg allergies have been updated for this season.

People who have experienced only hives after exposure to eggs can get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health.  People who have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs, or who have needed epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention, can 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. People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving their vaccine.

Flu Mist will not be an option this season. 

CDC recently announced that the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), best known as nasal spray or by the trade name Flu Mist, should not be used during the 2016-17 influenza season. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend it not be used after data showed poor or relatively low effectiveness against the influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 strain of the nasal spray from 2013 through 2016 compared to the injectable vaccine.   This change in recommendation underscores the importance of ongoing efforts to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines to ensure optimal protection against preventable disease.  

We expect that there will be enough of the injectable vaccine available for the 2016-17 season so everyone 6 months and older can protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu.   

Adair County Health System will have quadrivalent vaccine available for those 6 months and older, as well as High Dose trivalent vaccine for those age 65 and older.  Adair County Public Health will be holding community flu vaccination clinics starting late September and still plan to do some form of school clinics this fall as vaccine is available.     

Questions? Please call Stephanie Claussen at Adair County Home Care and Public Health 641-743-7205 or go to www.cdc.flu for more information.

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