• Influenza Vaccine

    (Flu Vaccine)

    For the latest information on influenza vaccination, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/other%5Fflu.htm

    What Is Influenza?

    Influenza (also called the flu ) is an upper respiratory infection. It is caused by the influenza virus. Flu strains differ from one year to the next. There are two main kinds that infect humans:
    • Type A
    • Type B
    You can get the flu when you breathe in droplets from someone infected with the virus. It can also be spread by touching a contaminated surface and then putting your hand to your mouth or nose.
    Each year (usually beginning in October), the flu spreads around the world. Anyone can get it. Some people are at a higher risk of complications. People at higher risk of complications include:
    • Being younger than 5 years old
    • Being 65 years old and older
    • Having certain conditions, including:
      • Chronic lung condition (eg, asthma )
      • Cardiovascular disease
      • Kidney or liver disease
      • Neurological, blood, or metabolic condition (eg, diabetes)
    • Having a suppressed immune system (eg, HIV )
    • Being pregnant
    • Being a child or teen who receives long-term aspirin therapy
    • Being American Indian/Alaska Native
    • Being severely obese
    Symptoms include:
    • Fever and chills
    • Severe muscle aches
    • Cough
    • Severe fatigue
    • Headache
    • Decreased appetite, other gastrointestinal symptoms (eg, nausea, vomiting)
    • Runny nose, nasal congestion
    • Sneezing
    • Sore throat
    Treatment may include:
    • Rest
    • Fluids
    • Over-the-counter pain relievers
    • Decongestants
    • Cough suppressants
    • Antiviral medicines

    What Is the Influenza Vaccine?

    The flu shot is made from an inactivated, killed virus. There are three types of flu shots available:
    • Regular flu shot (the most common type)—for people aged six months and older, injected into the muscle (usually in the upper arm)
    • High-dose shot (Fluzone High-Dose)—for people aged 65 years and older, injected into the muscle
    • Intradermal shot (Fluzone Intradermal)—for people aged 18-64 years old, injected into the skin with a smaller needle
    There is also a nasal spray (FluMist) made from live, weakened flu viruses. The nasal spray is available for healthy people aged 2-49 years who are not pregnant.
    The flu shots and nasal spray contain several influenza viral strains. The type of strains that the vaccine contains change from year to year. The strains are based on which viruses are likely to circulate during that flu season.

    Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that anyone aged six months and older should get a flu shot.
    It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to protect you against the flu. Even if you have been vaccinated, you can still get the flu. If you have symptoms, tell your doctor.
    You can get the flu anytime during the year. But, flu season typically lasts from October to May. The best time to get vaccinated is as soon as the vaccine is available. This will protect you before the flu comes to your community.
    Children younger than 9 years old may need two doses of the flu vaccine. This may need to be given to help your child build immunity to the virus. Talk to the doctor to find out how many doses are right for your child.

    What Are the Risks Associated With the Influenza Vaccine?

    Almost all people who receive the influenza vaccine have no problems. There are certain risks associated with the vaccine. As with any vaccine, there is a small risk of serious problems, including severe allergic reaction.
    Side effects associated with the flu shot include:
    • Soreness, redness, and swelling around the injection site
    • Low-grade fever
    • Muscle aches
    Side effects associated with the nasal spray vaccine include:
    • Runny nose
    • Headache
    • Vomiting
    • Muscle aches
    • Fever
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Wheezing

    Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?

    Certain people should talk to their doctor before receiving the influenza vaccine. These include people who:
    • Have any severe (life-threatening) allergies to chicken eggs
    • Have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past
    • Have had Guillain-Barré syndrome
    • Currently are very sick
    The following people should not get the nasal spray :
      Children who:
      • Are aged 24 months or younger
      • Have asthma
      • Are aged 2-4 years who have had wheezing in the past 12 months
      • Have a condition that may increase their risk of flu complications
      People who:
      • Are aged 50 years and older
      • Have a chronic condition (eg, heart disease, lung disease, asthma, kidney or liver disease, metabolic disease, blood disorders)
      • Have a nerve or muscle disorder
      • Have a weakened immune system
      • Are in close contact with others who have a weakened immune system
      • Have a nasal condition which makes it difficult to breath
      • Have gotten any other vaccines in the last 4 weeks
    • Pregnant women
    • Children or teens on long-term aspirin therapy

    What Other Ways Can Influenza Be Prevented?

    Good preventive measures include:
    • Avoid close contact with people who have respiratory infections.
    • Wash your hands often for 15-20 seconds with soap and water. This is especially important to do when you come in contact with someone who is sick. Rubbing alcohol-based cleaners on your hands is also useful.
    • Do not share drinks or personal items.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • Do not put your hands near your eyes, mouth, or nose.

    What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak?

    In the event of an outbreak, the primary focus is to vaccinate as many at risk people as possible, especially those in high priority groups. The use of antiviral medications (eg, oseltamivir , zanamivir ) can reduce the length of the illness when given within two days of onset. Finally, people who are infected should be isolated as much as possible.

    WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

    Flu.gov http://www.flu.gov/

    Vaccines & ImmunizationsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

    Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

    Vaccines, Blood & BiologicsUnited States Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccines.htm

    References

    Baker CJ, Pickerling LK, Chilton L, et al; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2011. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(3):168-173.

    Flu symptoms & severity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/symptoms.htm. Updated June 29, 2011. Accessed November 29, 2012.

    Fluzone high-dose seasonal influenza vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/qa%5Ffluzone.htm. Updated July 16, 2012. Accessed November 29, 2012.

    Influenza vaccine in adults. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated November 3, 2012. Accessed November 29, 2012

    Influenza vaccine, live, intranasal (2012–2013): What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-flulive.pdf. Published July 2, 2012. Accessed November 29, 2012.

    Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm . Updated July 6, 2012. Accessed November 29, 2012.

    People at high risk of developing flu-related complications. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high%5Frisk.htm. Updated November 1, 2012. Accessed November 29, 2012.

    Recommended immunization schedule for persons aged 0 through 6 years: United States 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-6yrs-schedule-pr.pdf. Updated 2012. Accessed November 29, 2012.

    Vaccines and immunizations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/ . Accessed November 29, 2012.

    Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm60e0818a1.htm?s%5Fcid=mm60e0818a1%5Fe . Published August 26, 2011. Accessed November 29, 2012.

    Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines. United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5908a1.htm . Accessed November 29, 2012.

    1/31/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0-18 years—United States, 2008. MMWR. 2008;57;Q1-Q4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MMWR website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5701a8.htm . Updated January 10, 2008. Accessed January 28, 2008.

    10/15/2007 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Nichol KL, Nordin JD, Nelson DB, Mullooly JP, Hak E. Effectiveness of influenza vaccine in the community-dwelling elderly. N Engl J Med . 2007;357:1373-1381.

    8/10/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Fiore A, Uyeki T, Broder K, et al. Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2010. MMWR . 2010;59:1-62.

    3/5/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : FDA approves first quadrivalent vaccine to prevent seasonal influenza. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm294057.htm . Published February 29, 2012. Accessed March 5, 2012.

    9/18/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) - United States, 2012-13 influenza season. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012;61:613-618.

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