Parish Nurse News

 

What you need to know about flu vaccine

With fall coming on, flu shots are recommended for anyone over 6 months of age.  It is particularly important for those over 65 and/or have chronic medical diagnosis such asthma, COPD, cancer, heart problems or diabetes.  Getting your flu shot early is especially important this year with our pandemic of COVID-19.  To some extent the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are very similar and could be confused.  It is also possible that a person could have both at the same time.

Symptoms of flu could be fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny nose.  If you are having these symptoms, please call your care provider so he/she can determine if it is influenza or COVID-19.  Flu can lead to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections.  It can also lead to death.

Vaccines available.  Let your care provider advise you about which would be best for you.  Some choices are:

-quadrivalent vaccine—protects against 2 type A and 2 type B strains.  Effectiveness depends on the strains that are circulating in your community at the time.

-high dose vaccine—sometimes advised for persons 65 and older and contains 4 times the protein as traditional vaccine.  Produces higher immune response in persons over 65

-flu vaccine with adjuvant—sometimes recommended for persons over 65—it creates a stronger immune response

Allergies—if you have had a reaction to the flu vaccine in the past or had Gillian-Barre or are allergic to eggs contact your care provider (a special formulation is available to those allergic to eggs)

Response—usually takes 2 weeks to become protective.  If a person does get flu after vaccination, the case is usually less severe. Usually not given if the person is ill at the time.

 

Protect yourself

  • -get vaccinated

  • -avoid others who are sick./ stay home if you are ill

  • -wear a mask

  • -distance by 6 feet

  • -wash hands often

  • -protect infants in crowds when flu is common in community

  • -do not share food or eating utensils.

    • clean surfaces—door knobs, phones, water faucets, etc

 

Available at

  • -your local pharmacy—check with them what time and day they are available

  • -your doctor’s office

  • -your local public health office—call to see when they can schedule or vaccine is available

  • -usually covered by Medicare and some insurances

  • (resource Minnesota Dept. Health)

 

Dear Lord, keep us all in your tender care. Amen

Rachel Boyum

United Lutheran Parish Nurse