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Published On: Wed, Dec 11th, 2013

It’s Not Too Late To Fight The Flu… Get Your Shot Today!

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National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national observance that was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination.

NIVW is December 8-14, 2013… but did you know that even as this important health awareness week begins, there is a major National decline in Flu Shots based on the myth that “December is too late to get the Flu Shot”

I spoke to my DR. recently, as many of you know… I was hospitalized 3 years ago and almost lost my life after I got Pneumonia (after a long bout with the flu). This ordeal has totally changed how I live my life in many ways, but one of the things my Dr. keeps pointing out is that a bad cold or a the flu can be very dangerous for me. I have heard many things like the the Flu Shot actually makes you sick and

To get further clarification, our friends at the CDC connected us with Dr. Fierro, the Medical Director of the Cardiology Center in New Orleans and the Board President of the Jefferson Parish Medical Society.  His organization is the fiscal agent for the Ventanillas de Salud Program of the Mexican Consulate in NOLA.

Let’s talk about the Elephant in the room, everyone wants to know…

Is it too late to get the Flu Vaccine?

No. Vaccination can still be beneficial as long as flu viruses are circulating. CDC recommends that providers begin to offer flu vaccination soon after vaccine becomes available in the fall, but if you have not been vaccinated by Thanksgiving (or the end of November), it can still be protective to get vaccinated in December or later. Flu is unpredictable and seasons can vary. Seasonal flu disease usually peaks in January or February most years, but disease can occur as late as May.

Can the Flu Vaccine actually give you the Flu?

No… this is a common misconception. The vaccine is made of inactive properties from the flu. The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. These symptoms are way less severe than someone that has contracted the Influenza virus. The symptoms are likely a reaction from your body creating antibodies to fight the Flu.

Children should not get the Flu Vaccine if they are under 3 years old.

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season, even if you were vaccinated in prior years. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related  hospitalizations and deaths. The vaccine is a safe way to protect yourself from the flu and potentially  serious complications, like pneumonia. Millions of people have safely received flu vaccines for decades.

Do Hispanic / Latino patients run a bigger risk for Flu Infection?

Not just because they are Latino (genetically) but because many Hispanic patients tend to use home remedies (remedios caseros) and wait a little longer to get medical attention. By the time they actually get medical attention, they run greater risk for other complications. Another driving factor may be access to affordable health care. this is even a better reason for them to get vaccinated.

My question… is the vaccine safe for Diabetics?

If you have diabetes,you have a greater risk of developing pneumonia by itself or after the flu, so if you have not previously received a pneumococcal vaccination, you should also get a pneumococcal vaccination. Pneumococcal vaccines are safe and effective for people with diabetes and you cannot get pneumonia from the pneumococcal vaccine. A pneumococcal vaccination, if not previously received, along with a yearly flu shot, is a key part of managing your diabetes. For more information on the adult immunization schedule, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/adult.html

Still not convinced?  People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications” is available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm

You ready? 

Take the CDC Flu Vaccination Pledge for the 2013-2014 season! The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated. –> http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/pledge/index.html

 

Take The Flu IQ Test

 

Flu Shot Locator 

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It’s Not Too Late To Fight The Flu… Get Your Shot Today!