(WXYZ) – The cooler rainy weather has arrived which means we spend more time indoors. And that gives those nasty viruses more opportunities to spread.
Although you can catch the flu anytime throughout the year, flu season kicks off in October, which is just a few days away.
So, to protect yourself, it’s time for the flu shot.
What are the new flu vaccine recommendations?
The flu vaccine changes from year to year because the actual flu virus changes. So that means everyone over the age of 6 months should be getting the new vaccine anytime now.
It’s best to get vaccinated in early fall because it takes about two weeks for your immune system to develop antibodies that fight it off.
There’s some good news for those who don’t like getting the shot. After being off the market for two years, the nasal spray flu vaccine is back, but only for those who are not pregnant and between the ages of 2 and 49.
What flu strains will it cover?
Last year was the deadliest flu season we’ve had in years with H3N2 as the predominated virus.
The CDC reported 180 children died from the flu and thousands were hospitalized. And right here in Michigan, we had over 45,000 reported cases of Influenza.
Now there are different flu vaccine options which will help protect against three or four viruses. The trivalent contains three strains of the flu virus, H1N1, H3N2, and an influenza B strain component. The quadrivalent, which contains four strains, includes those I mentioned plus a second influenza B strain.
Will it be more effective than last year?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to predict that. But the CDC says the vaccines are a better match to circulating viruses.
Getting the flu shot is the best defense we have. Yes, it can be imperfect, but studies suggest those who are vaccinated but still get sick tend to have fewer symptoms.
Let’s remember the flu is a potentially serious disease. And getting vaccinated has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and flu-related death in children.
It’s especially important for elderly folks to get their flu shot. That’s because the flu can kick-off a downward domino effect when it comes to their health.
- Use the nasal spray as a last resort if children or loved ones are afraid of a needle. The American Academy of Pediatrics prefers the injectable form as it’s shown to be more effective over the years.
- Please don’t believe the myth that you can get the flu from the vaccine. You can’t. But you might experience a reaction to the vaccine like muscle aches and a fever as your body produces protective antibodies.
- Help protect yourself from the flu by washing your hands frequently with soap and water. Also get in the habit of not touching your eyes, mouth or nose with your hands which may be contaminated.
- If you get the flu, please see your doctor. There are antiviral drugs that can treat and fight the virus.
You’ve heard me say “food is medicine”. And it’s especially important when it comes to fighting colds or the flu. Here’s how to boost your immune system.
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