Healthy Living
Who Needs a Flu Shot? (No Flu for You.)


Flu vaccine for the 2015-16 flu season is available at the WESTMED Medical Group offices. Flu outbreaks can occur as early as October and can last as late as May. For an ounce of prevention,   now is the time to schedule your flu shot to protect yourself and your family against the main flu viruses that will be most common.

 

Call your WESTMED primary physician or OB/GYN for an appointment to be immunized.   Call your child’s pediatrician to schedule his/her vaccination.

 

Why should I/my family get vaccinated now?

 

It’s important to be protected throughout the flu season. “It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu,” says Dr. Richard Morel, co-medical director and vice president of WESTMED Medical Group. 

 

Who should get vaccinated this season?

 

Even healthy people can get the flu. Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for certain groups to get immunized. They are:

 

  • People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu. 
    • This includes
      • People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
      • Pregnant women.
      • People 65 years and older.
  • People who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications
    • This includes household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

 

What Kind of Vaccines will WESTMED have?

 

We will have quadrivalent vaccine that protects against 4 different flu viruses, nasal spray, which is approved for people two years of age through 49, and high dose flu vaccine for patients 65 years of age and older. 

Also, all of our vaccines are preservative-free.

 

Why is a High Dose Vaccine Available for > 65 ?

 

Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza. Also, aging decreases the body's ability to have a good immune response after getting influenza vaccine. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.

 

The Nasal Spray Vaccine

 

The option of the nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in people two years of age through 49 years of age.  The CDC says the nasal spray is more effective for healthy 2-8 year olds than the regular flu shot. Children younger than two years old cannot get the nasal spray vaccine, nor can pregnant women.

 

What are Symptoms of the Flu?

 

These can include headache, chills, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, fever, cough, sore throat  and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. 

 

How is Flu Treated ?

 

Flu is a virus, so antibiotics will not work. However, antiviral drugs can treat flu illness and need to be prescribed by a doctor.  They can make people feel better and get better sooner and may prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia, for example, that can lead to hospitalization and even death. They work best when started during the first two days of illness. These drugs can be given to children and pregnant women as well.

 

For quick reference to WESTMED internists, pediatricians and OB/GYNs and their phone numbers, go to http://www.westmedgroup.com/services.aspx