Learn more about the best ways to get ready for the cold and flu season.
Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US makes recommendations about what flu shots to get. This year, they have announced that the best options this season include:
Standard dose flu shots. Most are given into the muscle (usually with a needle, but one can be given to some people with a jet injector). One is given into the skin.
High-dose shots for older people.
Shots made with adjuvant for older people.
Shots made with virus grown in cell culture.
Shots made using a vaccine production technology (recombinant vaccine) that does not require the use of flu virus.
Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) – or the nasal spray vaccine – is not recommended for use during the 2017-2018 season because of concerns about its effectiveness.
These days, many pharmacies offer a walk-in service with a low co-pay. Remember, the flu is a serious illness and in certain populations, it can be deadly. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Get your flu shot today. A recent study has shown that children who get the shot are less likely to die from flu.
Seniors should opt for the high dose.
Also watch out for another related illness. One of the major complications of flu, and a killer in its own right, is pneumonia. Jack LaLanne passed away last year at the ripe old age of 96 due to pneumonia-related complications.
Again, older people and those at risk of complications from flu might want to consider the Pneumovax: shot for pneumonia. It is an important vaccination which the CDC is now recommending to seniors — especially this time of year.
The shot is the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for pneumonia and meningitis (the vaccine is called Pneumovax 23). Pneumonia causes more than 40,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, many of which could be prevented by this vaccine.
If you’re over age 65 and haven’t already gotten this one-time-only shot, you should get it now before flu season hits. Pneumovax 23 is also covered under Medicare Part B, and you can get it on the same day you get your flu shot. If you’re not covered by insurance, this vaccine costs about $75 to $85 at retail clinics.
This vaccine is also recommended to adults under age 65 if they smoke or have certain chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes, sickle cell disease, have had their spleen removed, or have a weakened immune system due to cancer, HIV or an organ transplant.
As for the vaccination against meningitis, remember that it can often mimic the flu symptoms in its early stages. By the time it progresses to the extent that doctors might start to suspect the disease, it can already have developed into a full-blown case. Meningitis is also a dangerous and deadly disease that can be prevented with a simple vaccination. The Pneumovax 23 shot covers both pneumonia and meningitis. So stay safe this winter with these simple shots.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO WARD OFF FLU
In addition to getting vaccinated, as always, common sense is key. The three best ways to stay healthy during flu season are to:
*cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze,
*wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water; and
* stay home if you’re sick.
Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand. Try to duck your head into your upper forearm. If you do use a tissue or blow your nose after you sneeze, throw it away and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
You may wish to be brave and soldier on at work, but just think of all the people you might be passing along your germs to. In addition, desks themselves are dirty breeding grounds for bacteria, with a recent study showing that they are far more dirty than a toilet because we don’t clean them as often.
Don’t give germs a chance to breed and spread. But in case they do, protect yourself with a vaccine against flu and pneumonia, especially if you are a senior. For more information on these and other vaccines, go to http://cdc.gov/vaccines
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Colds and Flu-How to Stay Safe
Visit the Infectious Diseases Spotlight as well.