Why should I get the flu vaccine? How is it spread?
There are three to five million cases of influenza world- wide every year. Of these, two hundred fifty thousand to five hundred thousand people die. The virus is spread by coughing, sneezing, and nasal secretions. People who live in facilities along with many other residents, such as nursing homes or military barracks, are more likely to get sick with the flu. Pregnant women, people with a weakened immune system, medical history of cancer treatment, diabetes, heart problems, and asthma have increased risk for medical complications if they get sick with the flu.
Who should get the vaccine? How many flu vaccines are available?
Young children, people sixty five and older, pregnant women, and people with health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease.
There are two flu vaccines. One, an inactivated (killed) vaccine (flu shot), is given by needle. The other, a live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine, is sprayed into the nose. For both vaccines, Immunity is present two weeks after immunization. A “high-dose” inactivated influenza vaccine is available for people sixty five and older.
When? As soon as it is available at your doctor’s office. Most flu cases begin in October and taper off through April. Adults and older children need one dose of influenza vaccine every year.
Who should not get the flu vaccine? People with severe allergy to eggs. However, allergic reactions from flu vaccine are rare.
Side effects? Soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site can occur. Hoarseness, red or itchy eyes, headache, and fatigue are possible. Most side effects resolve in a few days. Life-threatening allergic reactions are rare.
Where can I get more information?
Log on to the Centers for Disease Control website:
If you live in the Colorado Front Range and have no family doctor, contact one of these Visiting Nurses Association offices.
390 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203
5373 North Union Boulevard, Suite 101
Colorado Springs, CO 80918