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Flu vaccine facts for season 2014-2015

By Dr. Shilpa VernekarFlu Shot

Who should be vaccinated?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends annual seasonal influenza immunization for all people, including all children and adolescents, 6 months of age and older during the 2014-2015 influenza season.

When should you get the flu vaccine?

Children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes mellitus, cystic fibrosis, HIV/AIDS, and sickle cell are more vulnerable and should be vaccinated at the earliest time possible. This also applies to pregnant, or recently delivered females and breastfeeding moms.

However, everyone should get the flu vaccine as early in the season as possible to protect against the flu.

What does flu vaccine protect against?

Trivalent flu vaccine protects against two Influenza A (H3N2), (H1N1) strains and one Influenza B vaccine.

Quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against an additional strain of the Influneza B virus.

Number of doses:

Children 6 months to 8 years getting dose for the first time this season would get 2 vaccines 4 weeks apart.

Children 9 years and older would receive one dose only.

How is flu vaccine administered?

Injection: Killed vaccine, safe for children above 6 months of age and with chronic medical conditions

Nasal spray: Live vaccine, approved for children above 2 years of age.

 Side effects:

Like any other vaccine – local side effects like pain around the injection site, redness and swelling is possible. Some may develop low grade fever, body ache, runny nose, or headache lasting for a day or two.

Severe allergic reaction; if this occurs, patient should consult a physician immediately.

 Flu vaccine does not give the flu.

It is very important to practice good hygiene including hand washing and avoiding close contact with persons who have the flu to protect oneself from the disease. These are the best ways to prevent getting the flu this season, in addition to getting the flu vaccine or flu mist.

In addition to Flu Q&A, Dr. V has written on a variety of topics for parents, including sex education, bedwetting and more. Follow Dr. Vernekar on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/shilpavernekar.

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