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Just a reminder! Thanks for visiting us at Shots Hurt Less Blog! This is just a reminder that the information on this site is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should never replace the recommendations of your doctor - check with your doctor if you have any specific questions! We will always honor and protect patient confidentiality, and we ask that you all do the same, if you choose to comment on our posts. Thanks for visiting!


Dr. Brown Knows Flu…Do You? Part 2 

In follow up to my previous post (Dr. Brown Knows Flu...Do You?  Part 1), here are answers to a few more frequently asked questions about the flu vaccine.

- Which is best? Flu Mist or Shot?  In the past, my answer was that, for most children, this decision was completely up to parents.  There are a few medical conditions which prevent a child from being able to receive the flu mist. Most needle wary children preferred the mist to a shot.  

But starting this year (2014-15), for the first time, experts are recommending the nasal spray (Flu mist) over the shot for children - specifically those who are 2-8 years old.  This new recommendation is based on recent studies suggesting that the nasal spray flu vaccine may work better than the flu shot in younger children. However, if the nasal spray vaccine is not immediately available and the flu shot is, children 2 years through 8 years old should get the flu shot. Don’t delay vaccination to find the nasal spray flu vaccine.

- Does timing matter? Nope, not if you're talking about how early each fall to get your flu vaccine.  But yes, if you're wondering if you need your flu vaccine each year.  Since the flu strands circulating in the US is constantly changing, it's important to get a new shot each and every year!  But the timing each fall shouldn't be a concern.

  • Don't worry about being too early:  Years ago, people worried that the protection the flu vaccine offered may only last a few months, so if you were vaccinated too early in the fall - you may not still be protected come February or March.  But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommend getting a flu shot as soon as it becomes available in your community. That's because the flu season could strike as early as October (we've already had cases in North Carolina this fall and in 2011-12, our flu season peaked in November here in the Triad).  Plus, it takes about two weeks for the shot to work and offer you protection should you be exposed to it.
  • Better late than never! If you don't get around to getting your flu shot until December or January, there is still time to get one (and especially if flu peaks late this year and more cases are late in the season).
  • What if you've already had the flu? Getting a flu shot after having the flu still counts: If you do wait too long and end up getting the flu, don't assume that you won't get it again.  Unfortunatley, there are always 3-4 flu strains circulating each season, so some unfortunate souls may get infected with more than one strain of flu in a single winter.  Getting one strain, sadly, does not protect you from the others.  So even if you've tested positive for flu - you should still come in for a vaccine too!  

- Kids with egg allergy can now get flu vaccines!   Flu vaccine grown in chicken eggs traditionally has not been given to people with egg allergies due to concern this could result in a serious allergic reactions such as breathing problems or a drop in blood pressure. However, recent versions of influenza vaccine have shown extremely small traces of egg protein and several recent studies show that thousands of people with an egg allergy have safely received the vaccine with no allergic reaction.  There's even a new "egg free" vaccine out for the first time this season, though at this stage it's only available for people over 18 years of age.....

So if you have a child with an egg allergy, please ask us about their flu vaccine options!  Here's the general rules:

- If your child can eat lightly cooked egg (scarambled eggs) without a problem - they can receive the vaccine and skip on out of our office immediately after their shot or Flu-mist is given.

- If your child gets hives (a rash) only after eating eggs - they can receive the flu shot (but evidence is limited about safety of FluMist in these patients so we recommend sticking with the shot)...but these kids will need to hang around for 30 minutes at our office so we can monitor them closely for signs of a reaction.

- If your child has a severe, anaphylactic reaction (vomiting, wheezing or trouble breathing) after eating eggs, we'll need to have an allergist weigh in and offer their expertise for the safest option


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