It’s Time To Prepare For Flu Season

Knowing that the nasal spray form of the flu vaccine won’t be available this year should not prevent anybody from getting vaccinated, according to a specialist at the Influenza Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine. There are many different inactive vaccine options available this year.

Dr. Pedro Piedra, a teacher of molecular virology and microbiology and pediatrics at Baylor, says “This year, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Influenza Practices has made the recommendation that the live attenuated vaccine not is utilized this year because data from the last three years suggested it had reduced protection against the influenza virus.”

However, the ACIP still recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine. Dr. Piedra agrees, adding that universal vaccination would prevent the entire community from the flu virus.

He shares that the H3N2 virus tends to have a greater mortality rate in older adults and that all flu strands can be detrimental to an infant or young child’s health.

For 2016, the flu immunizations are made up of four antibody strains: H3N2 and H1N1 which are both A strains, B Victoria, and B Yamagata. The trivalent vaccine has both of the A strains and one B strain. Piedra recommends getting the quadrivalent immunization if possible.

Piedra also noticed that there are several options of vaccines this year. For adults over 65 years old, there is a high-dose flu immunization. It will creates a better immune response for this age group. Those with egg allergies can get an egg-free vaccine. Kids between 6 months and three years old have a particular vaccine available that they can get from their pediatrician.

Piedra says it is safe for pregnant women to get seasonal flu shots during any trimester. And in fact, moms will pass these antibodies to their unborn child. Which is helping to protect them from the virus during the first six months of life.

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