Flu Season Updates

Flu Season Updates for 2013-2014


Don’t get the flu this year
 Here’s what you need to know for 2013-14 flu season!

 

What is the flu?


The flu is the common term for seasonal influenza, which is caused by influenza viruses.  The virus infects the respiratory tract and causes symptoms such as fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness) and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.  Unlike the common cold, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. In the United States more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications. Some people, such as older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.  The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated.

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When should I get vaccinated?


The CDC defines flu season as October through May, so it is important to get vaccinated as soon as the flu vaccine is available.  It takes about two weeks for the body to create it's immunity to the flu after being vaccinated.

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What is the difference between the quadrivalent and trivalent vaccine?


Every year the flu vaccine is formulated to protect against the strains of flu that are predicted to be the most common in the upcoming season.  This year, there are many different formulations available.  The trivalent vaccination contains 3 virus strains, and the quadrivalent vaccine contains an additional virus strain for a total of 4 virus strains.  Either vaccine is acceptable this year per the CDC. 

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How long will the vaccine protect me for?


The vaccine doesn't protect you from the flu forever, in fact, the amount of time that it protects you for varies from year to year.  Which is why it is important to get vaccinated each year. 

 

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Should children be vaccinated?


Absolutely!  The flu vaccine is recommended by the CDC for children 6 months and older.  Some children aged 6 months to 8 years of age may require two doses of the vaccine, so talk to your pediatrician about the proper vaccination schedule for your child.  It important to have everyone in the family vaccinated for optimal protection.

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Can a flu shot give me the flu?


No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. The influenza viruses contained in a flu shot are inactivated (killed), which means they cannot cause infection. Flu vaccine manufacturers kill the viruses used in the vaccine during the process of making vaccine, and batches of flu vaccine are tested to make sure they are safe. In randomized, blinded studies, where some people get flu shots and others get salt-water shots, the only differences in symptoms was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot. There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat.  Which means that when some people say that they got sick right after getting the vaccine, what might have happened was that they were starting to get sick to begin with.

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What are the possible side effects?


The most common reaction to the flu shot in adults has been soreness, redness or swelling at the spot where the shot was given. This usually lasts less than two days. Other reactions following the flu shot are usually mild and can include a low grade fever and aches. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days. Remember that the most common reactions people have to flu vaccine are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by actual flu illness.

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Where can I get vaccinated?


If you are a student the pharmacies available to you are University Village Pharmacy on the east side of campus and Taylor Street/EEI Pharmacy on the west side.  Campus Care patients will have a $0 co-pay.  Any cash paying patients will pay $25; which is less than most other retail pharmacies.  Please call if you have questions.

University Village Pharmacy
722 W. Maxwell Street, 2nd floor
312-355-1697

Taylor Street/EEI Pharmacy
1855 W. Taylor Street, 1st floor
312-996-6540

 

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Prepared by: University Village Pharmacy