Vaccinations are the best protection against flu

John Willoughby
ECB Publishing, Inc.

Flu season has reared its ugly face in the United States as the death of an unvaccinated Florida child has been confirmed due to the flu, the first pediatric casualty of the virus' season. The importance of knowing how to protect yourself and others is crucial as this year's flu, like years past, can be fatal.
The 2017-2018 flu season in the United States was said to be strenuous and widespread, as at least 30 children died before January of 2018 as result of the flu. Fortune reported in mid-February that more than 4,000 Americans were dying daily because of the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs, causing mild to severe illness, and, as previously stated, even death.
The flu is quite different than that of a cold, due to the sudden impact of symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, sometimes diarrhea and vomiting, as well as fever, however, not all infected will have a fever.
It's important to know that once the flu has been contracted, victims are most contagious in the first three to four days after illness begins, however, some may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and five days after becoming sick, according to the CDC. Others, including young children and people with weakened immune systems, may be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer period of time.
People who are more at risk for the flu, include those 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. Additionally, pregnant women and children younger than five years old are at higher risk of contracting the flu. However, anybody can contract the virus, even healthy people.
Fluzone High-Doze, given to people ages 65 and older, is a three-component (trivalent) inactivated flu vaccine, according to CDC. The vaccine contains for times the antigen of standard-dose inactivated influenze vaccines, which is what helps the body build up protection against flu viruses.
The CDC states that studies show 70 percent to 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people age 65 and older, with 54 percent to 70 percent of people in that age group hospitalized due to the seasonal flu.
The quadrivalent flu vaccine is also another vaccine that is administered by North Florida Pharmacy for anyone age 18 and older. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
Children younger than six months of age are too young to get the flu. Also, people with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine, this might include gelatin, antibiotics or other ingredients. People who are allergic to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine, if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome or if you're feeling unwell, you should consult your doctor before receiving the vaccine.
According to the CDC, other vaccines include live attenuated influenza [LAIV], adjuvanted vaccine, intra-dermal influenza (flu) vaccine, cell-based flu vaccine, flu vaccination by jet injector and recombinant influenza (flu) vaccine. Consult your doctor about these vaccines.
To better protect yourself from the flu, you are encouraged to get vaccinated. All persons aged six months and older are recommended for annual vaccination. In Jefferson County, the public health unit at 1255 West Washington Street is offering free flu shots to person 18 and younger. Pharmacists in Jefferson County also providing the flu shots are the CVS Pharmacy at 1390 South Jefferson Street and the Winn Dixie Pharmacy at 1245 South Jefferson Street.
For more information about the flu, log onto cdc.gov.