Samish Public Health News Release
The 2015-2016 Seasonal Flu Vaccine: Protects You and Those around You from Influenza!
As the flu season is now officially upon us, we would like to remind Samish Tribal Members that the first and single best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and the community from seasonal influenza is by getting the flu vaccine.
The Flu is a serious highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract that can lead to infection and pneumonia especially in vulnerable people with weakened immune systems including pregnant women, babies, young children and Elders. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive the flu vaccine. Good health habits such as washing hands, covering coughs and staying home when sick are other important ways to prevent the flu. Boosting the immune system by drinking plenty of fluids, getting extra sleep, exercising regularly and eating a healthy balanced nutritious diet are also important preventative measures.
This year’s flu vaccine provides protection against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be the most common during the upcoming season. The traditional trivalent vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against four types of flu virus and is available as a shot or a nasal spray. The nasal spray is approved for healthy non-pregnant people 2 through 49 years of age provided there are no contradictions or precautions. There is a high dose trivalent vaccine for people 65 and older which quadruples protection. There are egg protein-free trivalent vaccines for those 18 years and older with egg allergies. For those who don’t like large needles, there is an intra-dermal quadrivalent vaccine delivered with a micro needle under the skin approved for people 18 through 64 years of age. Should you have questions about the type of flu vaccine that is appropriate for you, your health care provider can help you decide upon the best course of action.
The body’s immunity to flu viruses often declines over time. So, it is important to get the flu vaccine every flu season. The flu vaccine is safe. You can’t get the flu from the vaccine because the virus in the vaccine is either killed or weakened.
For people who are sick with the flu and those at high risk of serious flu complications such as those with weakened immune systems, 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 mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a serious illness that could result in hospitalization. If you have any flu-like symptoms (fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose), contact your health care provider immediately. Your health care provider can prescribe antiviral medications that can make your symptoms less severe and make you feel better faster.
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.
Mitch Markovich, RN
Samish Public Health Services