The Flu & You: Options for the 2018-19 Season

10 benefits of the flu vaccine

When is the 2018 flu season?

The 2018 flu season is just around the corner. Flu diagnoses pick up in October. It normally peaks between December and February and can last through the month of May.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Symptoms are similar to (but far more severe than) the common cold: sudden fever, runny nose, cough, and severe fatigue. The flu can develop within 1-4 days after coming into contact with the virus. If you’re lucky, you can recover within two weeks, if not, one may develop major complications such as bronchitis, sinus infections, and pneumonia.

What are flu vaccines?

While flu shots are not 100% foolproof, studies show that people who have been vaccinated have a stronger chance of being immune to the flu and they also prevent the spread of this nasty bug. Even though one may have had a flu shot last year this does not mean you will be immune to the virus that will be floating around this year. That’s why it is very important to receive a flu vaccine in Pensacola every year, preferably in the early fall.

Each year the World Health Organization (WHO) conducts studies to try & determine which flu viruses are most likely to spread. The WHO then delivers their findings to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) who then make the call as to which flu vaccine viruses will be included in the upcoming year’s vaccinations. How well the flu vaccine works can change from year to year – one major factor being the ability to match the viruses the current vaccine is designed to protect us from, against the actual viruses that are circulating about. When the circulating flu to the flu vaccine is a good match you could have up to a 60% chance of not catching the flu.

Do flu Vaccines cause the flu?

Flu vaccines do not cause flu illness. Flu vaccines stimulate your body’s immune system into creating antibodies. These antibodies are developed via your body’s reaction to the flu vaccine and they will help you fight off any viral infection that you are exposed to during the flu season. So, while your body is creating these antibodies within 2-4 days of receiving the vaccination you may develop a runny nose, scratchy throat, fever, achy muscles, and headache. These side effects are mild and short-term, especially when compared to a bad case of flu.

It takes about two weeks for your body to fully develop the antibodies against the vaccine. If you are exposed to the flu before you get your vaccine, or within the two-week timeframe after you receive your vaccination, you can still get the flu. This is why the CDC recommends that adults get vaccinated by the end of October. Children (who need two doses of the vaccine) should start their vaccinations earlier than that so they can be fully protected by the time the 2018-2019 flu season rolls around.

Do I need a flu vaccine?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months or older get a flu vaccination. It’s especially important for people in high-risk groups:

  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years
  • Adults 65 or older
  • Healthcare providers
  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing home residents
FluMist is here just in time for flu seasonDoes it have to be a shot?

Flu shots are the most common way to get vaccinated, but the 2018 flu season is offering another choice. If you are between 2 to 49 years old, not allergic to eggs (the vaccine is grown in eggs), are not pregnant and in good health, you can opt to have the FluMist Quadrivalent.

The FluMist Quadrivalent is a live vaccine – meaning it contains weakened live viruses delivered via mist (using a rubber sprayer – no latex) into your nasal passages. No shot. This vaccine is specifically designed not to give you the flu. These weakened viruses are also cold-adapted, which means they are designed only to multiply at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The virus cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.

The FluMist is easier to give to children and to adults who do not deal well with injections. This flu season, drop by one the ProHealth labs or walk-in clinics for your flu vaccine. Flu shots are only $35 and flu vaccines are FREE with a ProHealth Medical Membership.