Home Health Medicine Is it Too Late for a Flu Vaccine?

Is it Too Late for a Flu Vaccine?

No, it is not too late for a flu shot. The Flu season in the U.S. runs from November to May, generally, so it is not to late to vaccinate. As a nurse, I recommend everyone get one, but as a citizen, I say, “It’s your call”There are arguments both pro and con, and truthfully, both are valid.

Those who object to the vaccine generally report an increase in the incidence of respiratory illnesses after receiving the vaccine. They’re right. A major side effect of the vaccine is mild “flu-like” symptoms for forty eight or so hours after taking the vaccine: fever, malaise, aches, runny nose, cough, fatigue.

The key here is SEVERITY and DURATION: the flu lasts for ten days to two weeks, while the vaccine side effect, IF you get it, are for one to two days.

Another argument is a fear of needles. These days, flu vaccines are given by “gun”. These devices are so quick that it is over before you even realize it has begun. Another option, and the one that is recommended for children is the nasal spray. The nasal spray is every bit as effective as the shot, and is much less traumatic to the wee ones, not to mention needle phobic adults.

The most prominent argument for children not receiving the vaccine is a fear of Autism. Autism is a developmental disorder which inhibits a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others.There have been absolutely no valid studies that connect vaccinations to Autism, in spite of the social media backlash, and a few “celebrities” who swear their kid became Autistic after vaccination. For more information, go to the most accurate source for vaccine data in the world, the CDC.

The CDC recommends the following groups receive flu vaccinations in October or November, but now is not too late :

People at high risk for complications from the flu, including:
Children aged 6–59 months,
Pregnant women,
People 50 years of age and older, and
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions;
People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above)

Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

Healthcare workers.

The flu vaccine this year will protect against three variations of influenza, which is the norm. Every year, epidemiologists at the CDC determine which strains of influenza are most likely to be prevalent in the coming year. They pick the three most likely, and develop the vaccines to combat those. This year the vaccine covers:

an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
an A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus
a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

The vaccine is available in two forms, the traditional injection and the new, nasal spray vaccine. The nasal sprays however, have only been approved for healthy people age five to forty nine,
who are not pregnant.

The vaccine should not be taken by any one who has an allergy to eggs. The vaccine is grown in egg whites, thus, could cause a reaction in those people who are sensitive to eggs.

Donna Sprague
Donna Sprague
Donna Sprague is a retired nurse and full time freelance writer. She is the author of "Your Granny's Nurse; Your Guide to Aging and Compassionate Care of the Elderly." She has written for Skyword, Gather, Bubblews, and several other websites. She enjoys cooking, gardening and enjoying life.


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