By Dr. Sam Keblawi
Flu Season is Coming
Let’s talk about a virus that we are all familiar with that will be making its rounds again this
winter. No, not COVID-19 or it’s Delta variant, but rather the influenza (flu) virus. Flu may seem like a distant virus of the past for the last couple years, but it’s important that we vaccinate against this virus and wear masks to help prevent the spread of the flu as well as COVID-19.
Flu Vaccine Myths Debunked
- Some have the expectation that the flu shot will protect against what many call “stomach flu.” “Stomach flu” is not influenza but viral gastroenteritis, for which there is no actual vaccine.
- There are 3 different flu vaccine types and one of these types is egg-based. People with mild egg allergies such as hives can receive any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine (including egg-based) and even those with severe egg allergies should be vaccinated against flu, but in a medical setting as a precaution as opposed to in a retail pharmacy setting, for example.
- Flu vaccine does not cause the flu and can be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Flu vaccination has been widely available in the United States since 1945 and is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicine. Each year, a new flu vaccine is developed to protect against the flu strains anticipated for the upcoming season. Flu vaccine effectiveness can vary according to season, age, and health status but getting vaccinated each year still reduces risk of severe flu-related illness. Severe complications from the flu are far more likely than severe flu vaccine side effects. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated each flu season. Children 6 months through 8 years of age will need 2 doses during the initial flu season in which they are vaccinated, then 1 flu shot annually after. Everyone else 9 years and older needs only 1 dose each flu season. It takes about 2 weeks for antibody protection to develop after vaccination.
CHAS Health patients, call today to schedule your flu shot appointment at 509.444.8200 or 208.848.8300 or visit chas.org to schedule online.