Do I Need A Flu Shot?

Flu season is no fun. A bad bout of influenza can knock a person down for days or even weeks at a time. It can even lead to further health complications.

In Victoria, flu season is often met with cold, wet weather. And for some people, the road to recovery can be a long one. One way to prevent getting taken down by the flu is to get an annual flu vaccination.

As they say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” In other words, prevention is the most effective way to stay healthy. Stopping something before it starts rather than trying to fix it once it’s already taken hold is the most effective approach to staying healthy.

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If you have any questions about the flu vaccine, we are here to help. There are some myths and uncertainties about the flu vaccine so we thought we’d come up with a handy flu vaccine guide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that most people over the age of six months get their annual flu vaccination for the 2016-2017 season. There are two types of vaccine the CDC recommends: the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) and the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV).

There are some exceptions to who should get the flu shot and some demographics who are told to proceed with caution.

The people who are should speak to a doctor before getting a flu shot include:

  • Anyone with an allergy to eggs or to the ingredients listed in the vaccine
  • Those who have suffered from the severe and paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
  • People who are feeling ill should consult a doctor before getting a flu shot

While there are approved flu shots for almost anyone, there are some people who should not get the flu shot this season. This includes:

  • Babies younger than six months old
  • Anyone with severe allergies to ingredients in the flu shot such as gelatine, antibiotics or any other of the listed ingredients.

Doctors recommend that everyone else get the flu shot. There are also flu shots approved for pregnant women, seniors and children.

While the CDC recommends that everyone get the flu vaccination, there are some demographics that are considered a higher priority than others. This list is helpful if somewhere were to face a vaccine shortage.

According to the CDC, the high priority groups for a flu shot include:

  • Children aged 6 months through 4 years (59 months)
  • People aged 50 years and older
  • People with chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
  • People who are immunosuppressed (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season and women up to two weeks after delivery
  • People who are aged 6 months through 18 years and receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who therefore might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
  • People who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • People with extreme obesity (body-mass index [BMI] is 40 or greater)
  • Health care personnel
  • Household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5 years and adults aged 50 years and older, with emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children aged younger than 6 months
  • Household contacts and caregivers of people with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza

In order to stay safe and healthy, getting a flu vaccination is an excellent idea. Quadra Clinic in Victoria has pharmacists that are trained to administer flu vaccinations. If you have any questions about whether a flu shot is right for you or if you would like to receive your annual flu shot, come in to Quadra Clinic. Our helpful pharmacists would be happy to assist you.

Wishing you a healthy and happy winter season!