During flu season, it is important to take steps to prevent catching the virus. The flu is a highly contagious illness that can occur in children or adults of any age. Every year in the United States, complications of the flu put more than 200,000 people in the hospital. The first line of defense against the flu is to get vaccinated. In the past, there have been two options for vaccination: the flu shot and a nasal spray called FluMist.
This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended that the FluMist should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. After reviewing data comparing FluMist with the standard flu shot, the CDC found that the easy-to-use spray had not been a successful flu-fighter over the past few seasons.
It is important to remember that it is still highly recommended that all children over six months of age be vaccinated, via the flu shot. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after the flu vaccine becomes available, if possible by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins, which is primarily November through April.
The flu shot is usually injected into your upper arm. For most people, the risk of complications from the vaccine is much smaller than the risk of complications from being infected with the flu virus itself. Some minor side effects that may occur from the flu shot are soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, or a low-grade fever. The vaccine is made from dead influenza viruses and can't give you the flu.
Janece Moore is a family nurse practitioner at Triad Internal Medicine Associates and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winston-Salem State University in 2001. Janece also earned her master’s degree in nursing with a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner from Winston-Salem State University in 2012. She holds an American Nurses Credentialing Center certification and is a member of the local chapter, Greensboro Nurse Practitioner Association.