2018 Flu Shot Vaccine Guide

News | November 14, 2018 | Reading Time 3:00 Minutes

Flu Shot Facts

Flu season is once again upon us.  That means it’s time for you and your elderly loved ones to get your flu vaccine.  Whether you have a phobia of needles or not, getting a flu shot is critical for protecting the health of yourself and those around you.  Seniors are especially vulnerable to hospitalization and complications from the common flu with 90% of influenza-related deaths occurring in those 65 years or older.  While data on the disease is difficult to capture, influenza is thought to play a role in anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths each year, so getting your flu shot is not something that you should take lightly.

Preventing the Flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best available way to protect yourself and your family from flu and its potentially serious complications.”  There are a variety of different flu vaccines available this flu season, so talk to your doctor to find out which vaccine might be best for you. From standard dose flu shots to high-dose shots for those 65 years and older to recombinant vaccines made without the use of flu virus or eggs, many people don’t realize that there are a number of different options available.

There is even an option that can help you avoid needles altogether if you are between the ages of 2 and 49 and relatively healthy.  According to verywellmind.com, trypanophobia (the fear of needles) affects 1 in 10 Americans.  For those affected with this phobia, consider trying the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV).  This simple nasal spray is a great alternative for those who might otherwise avoid the flu vaccine due to their fear of needles.

The effectiveness of the flu vaccine is updated regularly with the 2018/2019 flu vaccines receiving updates to the B/Victoria component as well as the Influenza A(H3N2) component to better match circulating viruses of the time.  Because the vaccines are constantly being updated, you can trust that you are getting the best flu protection available for today’s flu viruses.

If you haven’t received your flu shot yet, here are some flu symptoms to be on the lookout for in the meantime:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle Aches
  • Diarrhea & Nausea (occasionally in children)

Talk to Your Doctor About the Flu

If you experience these symptoms, talk with your doctor right away and avoid contact with others as much as possible.  The flu virus is spread from close contact and/or touching surfaces that have been infected with the flu virus. According to the CDC, “infection can occur when flu viruses contact the eyes, nose, or mouth, and through breathing in droplets from a sneeze or cough.”  Unfortunately, many people are contagious a day before they even experience symptoms and up to a week after, so it is common for flu viruses to spread to others unintentionally. That’s why a flu vaccine is critical!

Do your part to prevent the spread of the flu this holiday season by choosing from one of the many flu vaccine options available.  You or your loved ones life may depend on it!

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.