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Flu Vaccine

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 removed.
  • Diabetics.
  • 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 workers.

Who Should Not Get the Vaccine:  Those allergic to eggs must speak with their physician before getting vaccinated.

Click here for related information.

Created: 10/16/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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