Friday, November 8, 2013

Influenza update

This week, one of the moms in the practice was asking me about my thoughts on whether or not she should get the flu vaccine for her child.
Every flu season is completely different. Some times it rolls around in February and we hardly notice it. Sure, a few folks
Certainly we have plenty of patients who get it and have a miserable week or so, but nothing too memorable.
Unfortunately we can't really predict what any Flu season will look like.
It wasn't all that long ago that the H1N1 swept through and many otherwise young and healthy adults and children died!
There was a run on the limited vaccine and it was a nightmare.
One never knows when the Flu season will be especially severe. More years than not, deaths from influenza are reported. Invariably the media beats the drums and causes a bit of a frenzy and then folks can't get their children vaccinated fast enough. Historically, when that is the case, the supply does run out.

This season we still do have plenty of vaccine available.
Most of the adults and big kids who have gotten the shots have had a very uneventful time aside from a day with a mildly sore arm.
Some of the babies getting the shot for the first time have had low grade fevers and increased fussiness for a night.

(some years the shots seem to cause more side effects than others)

It also remains to be seen if this years vaccine is a good match for the circulating virus.

I have a feeling that this season the Flu is going to hit early and hit hard.
We have had our first positive Flu test this week.
The baby was quite ill with mostly respiratory symptoms and ended up being sent over to the emergency room for evaluation.
(I am happy to report that he is fully recovered)

Infants can't get the flu shots until they are 6 months of age. If this is the first year of getting the protection, your child will need two shots. There needs to be 4 weeks in between the first and the second shot. It is okay to have the interval be a little longer, but it can't be sooner.
It takes a week or so to get the immunity from the vaccination.
(Alas, our little flu patient had just gotten the second shot a day or so before becoming ill.)
If your child is over the age of two you will have the choice between the shot and the nasal flu mist.
All of our vaccine is preservative free.
We are also lucky enough to have only the newer quadrivalent vaccine (80% of the vaccine out there is the older trivalent formulation that protects against 3 strains rather than 4)

I hope I am wrong and that we have a mellow season ahead, but I suggest getting that flu shot if you haven't done it yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment