Q: Does the flu vaccine really work? Who should get it?
Dr. Donnica: Vaccination
is the best option to prevent influenza outbreaks. Vaccines can prevent infection
in 7 to 9 out of 10 healthy people less than 65 years old and in one out of
3 nursing home residents. Yet only about one in 3 people under 65 and two out
of 3 people over age 65 currently get vaccinated.
Who Should Get
the Influenza vaccine annually?
- Children under 2.
- Adults over age 50.
- Anyone with chronic respiratory problems including asthma or emphysema.
- Smokers (another good reason to quit smoking).
- Anyone with a weakened immune system: e.g. those with cancer, AIDS, immune
disorders, taking immunosuppressant medications, or who have had their spleen
- Heart disease patients.
- Nursing home residents or employees.
- Children, ages 6 months to 18 years old, on long-term aspirin therapy who
may be at risk for Reye's syndrome if they get the flu.
- Pregnant women who will be past their 3rd month of pregnancy during flu
season, which lasts from November through April.
- Alcoholics with liver impairment.
- Caretakers of any of the above. This includes health care workers (including
anyone who works in a hospital), moms with small kids, and childcare
Who Should Not
Get the Vaccine: Those allergic to eggs must speak
with their physician before getting vaccinated.
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Created: 10/16/2000  - Donnica Moore, M.D.