Flu immunization important to get each year

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another in a series of articles by local Centers for Disease Control Sentinel Physician Dr. Robert P. Blereau of Morgan City.

It’s that time of year to once again get your influenza immunization.

Getting the flu vaccine is the only way to prevent getting the flu.

The vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

This year’s flu immunization contains three different viruses, the ones most likely to circulate in the U.S. this flu season.

The flu viruses circulating around the world each year change or “mutate,” therefore the vaccine usually contains one or more viruses different from the previous year.

Since the viruses change, there is a “new” vaccine each year making it necessary to be immunized annually.

There are several different ways to get immunized for the flu:

—Seasonal flu vaccine given intramuscularly with a smaller dose for young children.

—Intradermal injection with a very short, very fine needle for those with a needle-phobia approved for ages 18-64 years.

—High dose flu vaccine recommended for those 65 years and older. More vaccine to hopefully give more protection.

—Nasal spray vaccine to avoid a needle, approved for healthy, nonpregnant persons aged 2-49 years.

Children under 9 years old should get two flu shots, four weeks apart, when they begin for the first time.

If a child under 9 years old did not receive two flu shots since July 2010 they will need two shots, four weeks apart this year.

The CDC has no preference or recommendations for any particular type vaccine.

Pregnant women are at high risk of complications from the flu and the CDC recommends immunizations as soon as possible in pregnancy to protect not only the mother, but also the newborn baby.

Flu immunizations should be taken as soon as available.

The vaccines are now available in the Tri-City area.

CDC studies show the vaccine will be protective throughout the entire flu season. No need to wait until later to be sure you are protected. The flu season may be earlier than you expect.

We are past due for a bad flu epidemic. The sooner one gets immunized the better protected you are.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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