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JODY HOLTON — Its Flu Shot Time!

It’s rarely spoken of these days, but flu shots are still very important. By Sept. 1, all pharmacies should have their new flu shot dosages in stock. Please, go get one.

I have already checked, if you have had or plan to get the COVID vaccine, this will not interfere with it.

I cannot stress enough the importance of getting that flu shot. There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses.

All flu vaccines for the 2021-22 season will be quadrivalent (four component). Most will be thimerosal-free or thimerosal-reduced vaccine (87%) and about 18% of flu vaccines will be egg-free.

On a recent well check at the doctor, the very first words out of the nurse’s mouth were, “Have you had your flu shot?” Remember when there was a flu season?

Times have certainly changed. Flu season is now year around.

Vaccine options this season include:

Standard dose flu shots.

High-dose shots for people 65 years and older.

Shots made with virus grown in cell culture. No eggs are involved in the production of this vaccine.

Shots made using a vaccine production technology (recombinant vaccine) that do not require having a candidate vaccine virus (CVV) sample to produce.

Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). – A vaccine made with attenuated (weakened) live virus that is given by nasal spray.

Ask your doctor what will work best for you.

Flu and other vaccines are required to be covered by your health insurance without charging a copayment or coinsurance. But, be sure to check with your insurance company to find out if you must go to a specific facility to receive the vaccine.

We get ours the first week of September each year, at a local pharmacy.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early, before the current flu season begins.

CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.

In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness. Common sense, good self-care, and a flu shot will go a long way towards keeping you healthy.

 

Get your flu shot early, protect yourself and your loved ones.

Jody Holton writes about health for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at jholton3@gt.rr.com.