Should you get the Flu Vaccine – Important Questions Answered.

Image result for Flu shotThousands of your neighbors and friends are asking themselves if the Flu Vaccine is right for them. Flu season is just a few sneezes and coughs away. There are hundreds of ads from local pharmacies to hospitals to your own physician telling you to get one.

But some vaccine companies are hoping that you wait and there are plenty of groups telling anyone who will listen, to avoid them completely.

Which is it:  Should you wait or get it tomorrow? Should you even get one in the first place?

The CDC or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined their voices to the barrage to encourage you and your friends to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Last year, only about 45% of Americans received a flu shot.  A 5% increase in the number would save almost 10,000 hospitalizations.

2 new flu vaccines will be available this year.  One will protect against 4 strains of the influenza virus instead of 3.  Also available are Adjuvant vaccine which is essentially a boost to the effectiveness of the vaccine.

 

A few things to consider:

  • The peak time for flu can change from year to year.
  • Typically the earliest it is seen is October and the latest is May.
  • Last year, the peak time was December, and some reports show that it will likely be similar to this year.
  • Some recommend that you don’t get your flu shot until sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving
  • But don’t forget – often those who wait even a few extra weeks will forget.
  • The CDC recommends that you get it as soon as possible.
  • Traditional Flu Vaccines protect against 3 flu viruses: Two Influenza A viruses and One Influenza B virus.

Image result for Flu shot

 

Who should get a flu shot?

  • CDC recommends that anyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot.
  • A child under 6 months is not recommended.
  • Don’t get a flu shot if you have a life threatening response to any part of the flu vaccine.
  • Children and the Elderly are highly encouraged.
  • The Flu shot is approved for Pregnant Females and those with Chronic Medical Conditions.
  • The nasal flu vaccine is no longer available – its effectiveness is being questioned.
  • You should talk to your doctor if you have ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome or GBS
  • It might be discouraged if you aren’t feeling well.

 

How long does it take for the Flu shot to work?

  • It takes the body 2 weeks for antibodies to be produced sufficiently.
  • Antibodies are like guardians against the virus and need to be adequately produces.
  • Immunity is provided by the flu shot
  • Over time, the effectiveness of the shot will become less and less.
  • You could be protected, then over time, that protection becomes less and less.
  • This is seen often in those over 65.

 

Are their risks to wait for the flu shot?

  • The greatest risk is that you won’t get one – Procrastination
  • Availability – pharmacies push for you to get the flu shot because there are plenty at the beginning of the season.
  • That number diminishes over time.
  • There have been a few years where we have run out of flu shots.

 

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If there was a Flu Vaccine shortage – who should be a priority or get the vaccine first?

  • According to the CDC – the following should get them – not necessarily in this order
  • Children between the ages of 6 months and 58 months (4 years).
  • Immunosuppressed – either through medication or by HIV
  • Chronic Lungs Conditions (Pulmonary) such as: Asthma, COPD, Respiratory Failure, and others
  • Chronic Heart Conditions such as: Cardiac Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Enlarged heart, etc. (This doesn’t necessarily include High Blood Pressure or Hypertension alone)
  • Chronic Metabolic Conditions such as: Diabetes
  • Other Chronic Conditions such as kidney problems, hematologic, liver, and neurologic.
  • Women who are or will be pregnant.
  • Those in Nursing Homes or Chronic care facilities
  • Health Care workers
  • Children between age 6 months and 18 months who are on long term Aspirin.
  • Household caregivers of children under 5 and/or for adults 50 and older.
  • Others
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Food Allergies on The Rise – Looking at The Top 8 Most Common

Allergies to food is an ongoing and potentially life altering medical condition that is often unexpected and unwanted.

Each year, thousands of children, adolescents, and even adults deal with the pleathera of symptoms, from mild to severe, that are associated with food.

The variety of food that can cause allergies is wide and difficult. But research has shown that 80% of individuals that have a food allergy will have one or more of the top eight food allergies.

Children have a risk factor of up to 8% while adults hover around 2%.  That means that almost 1 in 10 children will have some sort of allergy to food, while adults is more in the range of 1 in 50.

The response to allergies can be very mild to very severe, even anaphylaxis which is a risk for death. Studies have indicated that for an unknown reason, the presence of anaphylaxis as a result of food is on the rise.

 

Risk Factors

  • Family member having Asthma
  • Family member having Allergies (in general)
  • Family member having Allergies to Food
  • Elevated blood levels of specif allergy related serum immunoglobins.
  • Younger than age of 3

 

Severity

Severity is the symptomatic result of coming into contact – skin, air, or consumption of an allergy.

Exposure to type of food may get a “stronger” reaction than at other times.

Mild symptoms may become more severe.

Or….an obvious different reaction from one person to another may be seen.

Allergy response may be worse when younger and less severe when older.

Some individuals will have minimal symptoms while others may have anaphylactic or serious symptoms.

Each year in the U.S., it is estimated that anaphylaxis to foods results in approximately:

  • 30,000 emergency room visits
  • 2,000 hospitalizations
  • 150 deaths

 

Symptoms:

  • Throat itching
  • Throat tingling
  • Face, tongue, or throat swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Skin changes
  • Itching and Scratching
  • Nose running
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Throat closing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of Consciousness

 

Top 8 Food Allergies  (Alphabetical order only)

1.)  Eggs

  • Can be found in Breads, deserts, mayonnaise and other baked goods.
  • Alternatives include: Hummus, tofu, and others.

 

 

2.)  Fish

  • Certain types of fish may be Tuna, Catfish, Salmon, Talapia, Cod, Flounder, and more.
  • May or May not have allergy to shellfish
  • Can be found in imitation crab meat
  • Alternatives include:  Canned Chicken, Deli meats, or other types of meat.

 

3.)  Milk

  • Whey = Milk
  • This includes cow products and all food products
  • Butter, cheese, cream cheese, half and half
  • Cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, pudding
  • Some (but not all) are sensitive to goat’s milk and sheep’s milk as well.
  • Alternatives include:  rice, soy, or almond milk

 

4.)  Peanuts

  • Can be found as peanut butter, peanut oil, mixed nuts.
  • Should also avoid tree nuts.
  • Very commonly used along with chocolate, granola bars, some candy, and certain meals.
  • Alternatives include:  apples, bananas and/or honey on sandwiches, cream cheese when dipping, others.

 

5.)  Shellfish (Seafood)

  • Shrimp, crab, lobster,
  • Clams, Scallops, crayfish, and more.
  • Should also be concerned about allergy to Fish.
  • Can be found in soups, certain meals, fish stock, and more
  • Alternatives include: Deli meats, meat in general, vegetables, and more.

 

6.)  Soybean

  • Lecithin = Soy
  • Tofu, Soy milk, edamame
  • Soybeans, Soy protein, Soy sause
  • Soy nuts, Tamari, Miso, others
  • Can be seen in certain meals, deli meats, some vegetable broths, infant formulas, soups, and more.
  • Alternatives include: Wheat gluten (seitan), Rice milk, Almond milk, others.

 

7.)  Tree nuts

  • Almonds, cashews, pistachios
  • Walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts
  • Hazelnuts, chestnuts, macadamia nuts,
  • Pine nuts, and more
  • Can be seen in some cereals, granola bars, some candy and more
  • Should avoid peanuts as well
  • Alternatives include: Dried fruits, cereal, raisins, and more.

 

8.)  Wheat

  • Flour = Wheat
  • Can be found in breads, pasta, cereals
  • Bran, Wheat germ, Semolina
  • Snacks, foods, and many more.
  • Alternatives include: Noodles, different pastas, corn tortillas, others.

 

Treatment

Depends of severity

1.)  Food Avoidance

2.)  Allergy medications:

  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
  • Diphenhydramine  (Benedryl)
  • and others

3.)  Topic medications

4.)  Taking a bath

5.)  Epi-pen – Epinephrine used for anaphylactic reactions

 

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