Yes, it’s that time again. Time to line up the family for flu shots.
And for the second year, it will be a shot and not the FluMist, which last year was found to have a poor rate of preventing the flu in recent years.
This year, the shot will have a different formula of H1N1 (swine flu), but will have the same influenza A and B formula.
Who should get a shot? Anyone older than 6 months of age.
The medical field especially wants these folks to get the shots, according to the statement released this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Children with conditions that increase the risk of complications from influenza (e.g., asthma and other chronic lung diseases, diabetes mellitus, sickle cell disease, hemodynamically significant cardiac disease, immunosuppression, renal and hepatic disorders, or neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders);
- All household contacts and out-of-home care providers of children with high-risk conditions or children younger than 5 years, especially infants younger than 6 months;
- Children and adolescents (6 months through 18 years of age) receiving an aspirin- or salicylate-containing medication, which places them at risk for Reye syndrome following influenza virus infection;
- American Indian/Alaska Native children;
- All health care personnel;
- all child care providers and staff; and
- All women who are pregnant, are considering pregnancy, are in the postpartum period or are breastfeeding during the influenza season.
Who should not get a shot? Only people who have been told by a doctor not to get it.
How many shots do you need? Children ages 6 months to 8 years old who have never had a shot before (no FluMist doesn’t count), need to get two shots, one four weeks after the first one. Children ages 9 and older and adults who have never had a shot, only need one shot. Everyone else, it’s also just one shot.
When should you schedule shots? Now, through the end of October is the best window because it takes about two weeks for full immunity to kick in.