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Entries in Influenza (3)

Tuesday
Sep232014

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

 

Tuesday
Sep232014

To Do: Flu Vaccines for Everyone! (with convenient drive thru service)

Now that we're settling in to the routine of school days and there is a little chill to the air, it's time to schedule your kids for their annual flu shot.  

For any parents out there with questions about the flu shot (yes, we whole-heartedly recommend it for all children ages 6 months and up), I encourage you to read through the information I provided in past blog posts (Frequently Asked Questions about Flu Vaccines Part 1 and Part 2).

If you're coming into the office for a checkup in the next few weeks you'll be able to get your child's flu vaccine then (flu mist for otherwise healthy kids over 2 years and flu shot for those under 2 years or with other medical conditions) And good news, we're scheduling lots of flu clinics in the evenings and even on weekends!

We know you are busy and flu vaccines is just another on a long list of "To Dos" for all our patients' families.  But we are always trying to find creative ways to deliver health care for our families that is top quality and super convienant.  One example is our annual No Flu Drive Thru clinics (when parents print off flu vaccine consent forms at home, then drive to clinic, and we come to the car to give flu mist to your child - while still strapped into their seat inside the car)!  It doesn't get much easier than that!! 

We will have our 1st No Flu Drive Thru on Sunday October 5th from 12:30-2:30pm in the upper parking lot at Medical Park.

Our 2nd No Flu Drive Thru will be on Sunday October 19th from 12:30-2:30pm in the Clemmons parking lot.

The last No Flu Drive Thru will be on November 9th from 12:30-2:30pm in the upper parking lot at Medical Park.

Remember, the No Flu Drive Thru's are for patients eligible to receive FluMist. We do not offer injectable Flu Shots at these events.

In addition ot the No Flu Drive Thru clinics, we will also offer after-hours flu clinics. These flu clinics are scheduled from 5-7pm on the following dates:

Maplewood- 10/22, 11/19, 12/3, and 12/17

Clemmons- 10/7 and 11/4.

These clinics are for either the FluMist or the Flu Shot. Please call the office to schedule an appointment or schedule online at www.shotshurtless.com.


We may add additional dates for flu clinics as we progress through the season, so please check your MyChart messages and our website frequently.

Please read the guidelines below closely to know which type of flu vaccine your child is eligible for. If you are unsure which flu vaccine your child should get, please call the office.

Any child 6 months and older can receive the flu shot.


Children 2-4 years old can get the flu mist if they are healthy and have never had a wheezing episode.
Children age 5 years and older with Asthma are eligible for flu mist if they meet the following criteria:

- kids who have had flu mist in the past without any problems;
- kids with exercise induced asthma who only use albuterol with activity;
- kids with asthma on stable doses of controller medications.

Any child with Asthma or wheezing should NOT get the flu mist if:

- have asthma AND has needed oral steroids for wheezing in the last 12 months;
- have asthma AND has needed to increase maintenance inhaler dose (Flovent, QVAR, Pulmicort) in the last 12 months;
- kids who don't officially have asthma but have needed oral steroids for wheezing in the past 12 months.

Consent forms for these vaccines are available on our website under the Forms page. Please bring a completed and signed consent form for each child with you to the clinic.
It is important that you read the Vaccine Information Sheets prior to Flu Clinic. These are also available on our website under the Forms page. 

 

Wednesday
Oct092013

Dr. Brown Knows Flu...Do You? (Part 1 of 2)

This morning, while on a walk with my two young kids, I paused to appreciate the cool, crisp autumn air and the hint of yellow in the trees in my neighborhood.  I love the fall!  There's so much to do from riding the ferris wheel at the Dixie Classic Fair, visiting a pumpkin patch, raking leaves, or choosing Halloween costumes.   But, we at Twin City Peds, think there is one thing that should be at the top of your To Do list....Get your children vaccinated against Flu!  

I know there are many of you out there that think a flu vaccine isn't essential.  It is!  Pardon me for being so blunt, but there are many, many very intelligent and well educated people who are misinformed about influenza.

Please allow me to address some of the most popular reasons offered for refusing the flu vaccine.

1. The flu is annoying, but not actually dangerous for an otherwise healthy person (or child).

False. I understand that people who have not worked in a pediatric Intensive Care Unit may have a hard time

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