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Samish Public Health News Release

Join the Fight!  Protect Yourself and Others with a Flu Shot!

For Samish Tribal Members who haven’t already done so, October is a great time to get this year’s seasonal flu vaccine!  The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine.  Yearly vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from seasonal influenza.

For the 2016-2017 flu season, the CDC recommends only the use of the flu shot.  The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended because of its lack of effectiveness.  Some of the other vaccine choices available this flu season include:

  • 1) Trivalent vaccines (protect against three flu viruses): The traditional standard-dose vaccine (one can be given with a jet injector for persons’ age 18 to 64 years); a high dose vaccine for people 65 and older which quadruples protection; an egg-free vaccine for those 18 year through 64 years with egg allergies; and new this season, a vaccine with an adjuvant ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response for those 65 and older.
  •  2) Quadrivalent vaccines (protect against four flu viruses):  An intra-dermal vaccine with a much smaller needle for people 18 through 64 years of age; and, a vaccine containing virus grown in cell culture approved for those 4 years of age and older which is new this season. There is no preference for one vaccine over the other.

Should you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or health care professional.

Other flu prevention strategies include washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, covering coughs, avoiding touching your eyes nose and mouth, staying home when sick and keeping away from ill people.

Certain groups of people are especially encouraged to get vaccinated because they are at higher risk of having flu complications.  These include young children, Elders (65 and older), pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, health care workers, people who live with or care for high risk individuals; those who have close contact with babies under 6 months of age – too young to receive the flu vaccine; and, American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are more likely to get seriously ill from the flu compared to the general population.

For people who are sick with the flu, the CDC recommends the use of antiviral medications for the treatment and prevention of influenza.  Prompt treatment with antivirals begun within 48 hours of getting sick can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.  If you have any flu-like symptoms such as fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose contact your health care provider to see if antiviral medications can make you feel better faster.

The cost of the flu vaccine is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid, most health insurance providers and by Samish Contract Health. The information in this report has been compiled from the CDC and various other relevant government agencies and is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional health-care provider.

To find a flu vaccine in your area: http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/influenza/find-a-flu-shot.html.

For more information about the 2016-2017 seasonal flu, please visit: www.flu.gov or http://www.cdc.gov/features/flu/index.html.

Mitch Markovich, RN
Samish Public Health Services
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