Update: Flu Season 2019
Flu Update for our patients: While our area has been spared the worst of the flu before this, it is hitting us now. Infections are spreading across the region in all ages. We expect to see increasing numbers of cases through February and well into March.
There have been many hospitalizations and pediatric deaths caused by the flu already this season. The vaccine is good at reducing the risk of these, even when it is not perfect at preventing all symptoms. The strain circulating is covered by the vaccine and was effective at reducing complications last year.
Flu symptoms often include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough and cold symptoms. If you or your child are coming down with these symptoms, early diagnosis and treatment with anti-flu medication may help. Call us at the first signs.
If you have not yet gotten your flu vaccine for this season, it is not too late. The vaccine can start to provide protection in as little as a week. We still have preservative free vaccine available for children and adults. Call today to get in as soon as possible to receive yours. If you or your child are reluctant to get a shot, we also have the FluMist nasal spray available. In any case, don’t delay.
Influenza Vaccine Recommendations for 2018-2019
It’s that time of year again! Flu season begins by late fall, so the time to vaccinate is upon us. The CDC published their annual recommendation and the American Academy of Pediatrics has just published their Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children for 2018-2019.
They remind us that the flu virus can cause serious complications, even in healthy children, and getting the flu vaccine reduces the risk of being hospitalized due to the flu.
Last year was one of the most severe flu seasons on record outside of an influenza pandemic. Thousands of children were hospitalized and 179 died. Eighty percent of those fatalities had not received the flu vaccine.
The AAP recommends all children 6 months and older receive the influenza vaccine as soon as it becomes available, preferably by the end of October. The CDC recommends routine annual vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older who have no contraindications.
The AAP recommends the injectable flu vaccine as the primary choice for children because it has provided the most consistent protection against all strains of the flu virus in recent years. They also support the use of the nasal spray vaccine – or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4) – for the 2018-2019 season with the aim of adequate vaccination coverage and optimal protection in children of all ages.
Since the nasal spray did not work as well against influenza A/H1N1 strain during the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 flu seasons, it was not recommended in the U.S. for the past two flu seasons. Vaccine effectiveness can vary from one flu season to the next. The effectiveness of the latest nasal spray vaccine for this upcoming season is more of an unknown against the influenza A/H1N1 strain. Therefore, AAP recommends the flu shot as the first choice for children. The nasal spray vaccine may be used this year for children who would not otherwise receive the flu shot, as long as they are 2 years of age or older and healthy without an underlying medical condition.
The Pediatric Care Center has both vaccines available this year and our physicians agree with the AAP. We use only quadrivalent, preservative free vaccines that have three strains of flu in addition to the A/H1N1. Even if efficacy to one strain is low, immunization still significantly reduces complications and death from the flu.
If you would like further information go to the following publications:
We hold flu clinics on Saturday mornings throughout the fall designed to be quick and easy where you and your family members can come for a flu vaccine. You may sign up (to help insure efficient flow) in person at the office reception desk or by calling 301-546-5880. You can also schedule a regular nurse visit for the vaccine if these times are inconvenient or if you also need other shots, procedures or have additional needs.
Help us to make this the mildest flu season in recent memory by getting your flu vaccine soon!