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INFLUENZA “The Flu”
2017-2018 Flu Vaccine Information sheets
Influenza is a serious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, chills, headache, runny nose, sore throat, and body aches. All of these symptoms can last from 7-10 days. Antibiotics do not help unless there is a secondary infection like pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, or an ear infection. An average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations occur annually in the United States due to the flu. Preschool/school age children are the most common sources for spreading of the virus due to their close contact and hand-washing practices. Influenza can survive on unwashed hands for five minutes, on clothing and tissues for 8-10 hours, and hard surfaces (desks, telephones, computer keyboards, cafeteria tables) for two days.
Who Should get a seasonal flu shot?
The CDC now recommends everyone six months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccination. Those people at highest risk for influenza and influenza related complications include:
All children 6 months-18 years of age and adults over 50
Women who will be pregnant during the flu season
Anyone with a weakened immune system
Anyone with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, seizure disorders
Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
Anyone who lives with or cares for people at high-risk for influenza complications
Health care providers
Who should not receive a flu vaccination
You should not get a flu shot if you are allergic to eggs or thimerisol, are under 6 months of age, have an active infection with a fever, have a history of Gillian Barre (or have had a reaction to a previous flu shot).
What is the dosing schedule for the flu shot?
The Center for Disease Control recommends flu vaccinations each fall for anyone over 6 months of age who would like to promote good health. The flu vaccination lasts about six months and takes 1-2 weeks to build up immunity. Children under 9 years old receiving the vaccine for the first time, need two doses given 1 month apart.
Employers also might suggest canceling non-essential, face-to- face, meetings and travel, the report says.