3 steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu

Did you know that Michael Jordan only had a career 49.7% field goal percentage? That means that, at 59% effectiveness, this season’s flu vaccine is more effective than the greatest basketball player – and possibly greatest athlete – in the history of the world. “This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent,” chief of CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch Dr. Joseph Brese said in a press release. “It’s good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season.”

3 easy steps to prevent the flu in your family

1.Get vaccinated every season

·         Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu every year – with a few exceptions (see below).

·         Trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines designed to provide protection against three or four different flu viruses are available this season.

·         It takes the body two weeks after vaccination to build up antibodies to protect against the viruses. Since many more weeks of flu activity are expected for this season, there is still time to get vaccinated. As long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination can offer protection against the flu.

·         Parents and caregivers should remember that many children getting vaccinated against the flu for the first time will need 2 doses of flu vaccine to be protected. If a child has not received his or her first dose, they should be vaccinated immediately. Parents of those who have been vaccinated with one dose and are younger than 9 years should check with the child's doctor to see if a second dose is needed.

·         The CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over the other. What’s important is to get vaccinated every year.

2.Take daily preventive measures to reduce germ transmission

·         Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you get sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.

·         Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Additionally, clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

·         Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

3.Take antiviral drugs if prescribed by a doctor

·         The CDC recommends quick treatment of seriously ill and high risk suspect flu patients with antiviral drugs.

·         Early antiviral treatment can save lives, especially for people at high risk for flu complications.

·         People who are at high risk for influenza complications (see below) should contact a healthcare provider if they experience symptoms of the flu, even if they have been vaccinated this season.


Exceptions to the flu shot/nasal spray vaccine


Flu shot

Nasal spray vaccine

Who can’t get it

·         Children younger than 6 months.

·         People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.

·         Certain flu shots that have different age indications. For example, people younger than 65 years of age should not get the high-dose flu shot, while people younger than 18 years old or older than 64 years old should not get the intradermal flu shot.

·         Children younger than 2 years.

·         Adults 50 years and older.

·         People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or to a previous dose of any influenza vaccine

·         People who are allergic to eggs.

·         Children 2- 17 years of age who are receiving aspirin therapy or aspirin-containing therapy.

·         Pregnant women.

·         People with weakened immune systems.

·         Children 2-4 years who have asthma have had a history of wheezing in the past 12 months.

·         People who have taken influenza antiviral drugs in the previous 48 hours.

·         People who care for severely immunocompromised persons who require a protective environment (or otherwise avoid contact with those persons for 7 days after getting the nasal spray vaccine).

Who should talk to a doctor before getting it

·         People who have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine.

·         People who have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

·         People who are not feeling well.

·         People with asthma.

·         People with lung disease, heart disease, kidney or liver disorders, neurologic/neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders, and other chronic conditions.

·         People who have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

·         People who have gotten any other vaccines in the past 4 weeks, or who are not feeling well.


Who is at risk for flu-related complications

People who are

·         Younger than 5 years of age, in particular children younger than 2 years.

·         65 years old or older.

·         Younger than 19 years and are receiving long-term aspirin therapy.

·         Pregnant.

·         Up to 2 weeks post-partum.

·         Residing in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

·         American Indian.

·         Alaskan natives.

People who have

·         Asthma.

·         Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions

·         Disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy.

·         Epilepsy.

·         Stroke.

·         Intellectual disability.

·         Moderate to severe developmental delay.

·         Muscular dystrophy.

·         Spinal cord injury.

·         Chronic lung disease

·         COPD.

·         Cystic fibrosis.

·         Heart disease

·         Congenital heart disease.

·         Congestive heart failure.

·         Coronary artery disease.

·         Blood disorders

·         Sickle cell disease.

·         Endocrine disorders

·         Diabetes.

·         Kidney disorders.

·         Liver disorders.

·         Metabolic disorders

·         Inherited metabolic disorders.

·         Mitochondrial disorders.

·         Weakened immune systems.

·         Morbid obesity.


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