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Infuenza Vaccination Program

 
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WHAT IS INFLUENZA ("FLU")?  Influenza (or flu) is a viral infection of the nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs that can make someone of any age ill.  The flu occurs in the United Estates from approximately November to April. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, soreness in your back, arms and legs. Although most people are ill for only a few days, some persons develop a much more serious illness and may need to be hospitalized. On average, thousands of people die each year in the United States from the flu or flu related complications.


Influenza Vaccine: The viruses that cause flu frequently change, so people who have been infected or given a flu shot in previous years may become infected with a new strain. Due to this and because any immunity produced by the flu shot will possibly decrease in the year after vaccination, persons should be vaccinated every year. All the viruses in the vaccine are killed so that they cannot infect anyone.

The vaccine will begin to provide its protective effect after about one or two weeks and immunity may decrease on average after several months. Flu shots will not protect all persons vaccinated against the flu.  Optimal time for vaccination campaigns is usually the period from mid-October through mid- November.

Possible side effects from the vaccine: Most people have no side effects from recent influenza vaccines. Flu shots are given by injection, usually into a muscle of the upper arm. This may cause soreness for a day or two at the injection site and infrequently may also cause a fever or achiness for one or two days. Unlike the 1976 swine flu vaccine, recent flu shots have not been linked to the paralytic illness Guillain Barre Syndrome.  As is the case with most drugs or vaccines, there is a possibility that an allergic reaction could occur with the flu shot.


WHO SHOULD GET THE VACCINE?

  • Persons >65 year of age.
  • Adults and children with chronic disorders - pulmonary disease, cardiac disease, diabetics, renal disorders.
  • Any person who wishes to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza.
  • Students and other persons in institutional settings.
  • Household members (including children) of persons in high-risk groups.
  • HealthCare personnel.

WHO SHOULD NOT GET THE VACCINE?

  • Persons with an allergy to eggs or egg products. Individuals known to be sensitive to Thimerosal.

  • Anyone who has ever been paralyzed with Guillain Barre Syndrome.

  • Women who might be or are pregnant, should seek advice from their doctor about special risks that might exist in their cases.

  • Persons who are ill and have a fever should delay vaccination until the fever and other temporary symptoms have gone.

 
Copyright 2003 HealthCor Corporate Medical Services
 
 
 
Last modified: 06/16/2003
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