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2012-2013 Flu Season & Immunizations

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    2012-2013 Flu Season & Immunizations

    It is the start of flu season in the northern hemisphere. Time to think about where YOU are going to be getting your seasonal flu shot (vaccine is available now and you should get your flu shot ASAP this year).

    Remember that pulmonary infections and respiratory failure remain the #1 cause of death long-term in SCI, and it is very easy for the flu to turn into pneumonia or ARDS for someone with a SCI. Every year, 40,000 people in the USA die from seasonal flu. While the flu shot is not a 100% guarantee you will not get the flu, if you do, and were immunized, it will be less severe.

    Everyone Needs a Flu Vaccine

    While flu activity usually peaks in January or February, the flu itself is unpredictable. And although there are many different flu viruses, the yearly flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common that flu season.

    Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year, especially if you are at high risk for complications or you live with or care for someone who is, including the following groups:
    • Pregnant women
    • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
    • People 50 years of age and older
    • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (including SCI and spinal cord diseases).
    • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
    • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    • Health care workers
    • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)


    For a complete list of all people recommended for flu vaccination, as well as those who are not recommended for flu vaccination, visit Who Should Get Vaccinated.

    Get a Flu Vaccine Every Flu Season
    You should get vaccinated every year for two reasons. The first reason is that because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses. The second reason is that a person's immune protection from vaccination declines over time so annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection. So, yearly vaccination is recommended even for those who received the vaccine during the previous flu season.

    The 2009 H1N1 virus continues to circulate. It wasn’t added to the seasonal vaccine until the 2010-2011 flu season. This means that children who did not get the 2009 H1N1 vaccine in 2009-2010, or a seasonal flu vaccine in 2010-2011 or later, will not be fully protected from the 2009 H1N1 virus until they receive 2 doses of the 2012-2013 flu vaccine.

    Everyone 9 years of age and older needs only one dose of 2012-2013 flu vaccine.

    Vaccine Options
    So what are your vaccine options? There are two types of vaccines- the flu shot and the nasal spray.

    The "flu shot" — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is (sometimes called TIV for "Trivalent Inactivated Vaccine") approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

    There are three different flu shots available:
    • a regular flu shot approved for people ages 6 months and older
    • a high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older, and
    • an intradermal flu shot approved for people 18 to 64 years of age.
    • The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for "Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine"). The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine do not cause the flu. LAIV is approved for use in healthy* people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

    The viruses in the flu shot are killed, and the viruses in the nasal spray vaccine are weakened, so neither vaccine can cause the flu. A flu shot can have mild side effects, such as soreness or swelling where the vaccine was received, a mild fever, or aches. Mild side effects of the nasal spray can include runny nose, headache, sore throat, and cough. Any side effects you experience are not contagious to others and should disappear within 2 days.

    The flu vaccine is safe. People have been receiving flu vaccines for more than 50 years. Vaccine safety is closely monitored annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hundreds of millions of flu vaccines have been given safely to people across the country for decades.

    http://www.cdc.gov/Features/FLU/


    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

    #2
    I am a skeptic of flu vaccines, as are other people: http://www.time.com/time/health/arti...967306,00.html, however I do not feel they do harm so I am not saying don't get them. However in my opinion whether you get one or not you should;

    - avoid people with the flu
    - WASH YOU HANDS A LOT
    - as much as people may find you weird don't do things like shake peoples hands and if you do use purell or soap to clean your hands before touching any part of your body especially your face.
    - don't be afraid to wear a mask if you are going to someplace like a doctor's office or urgent care where you know people will be spewing germs everywhere

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by t8burst View Post
      - avoid people with the flu
      - WASH YOU HANDS A LOT
      - as much as people may find you weird don't do things like shake peoples hands and if you do use purell or soap to clean your hands before touching any part of your body especially your face.
      - don't be afraid to wear a mask if you are going to someplace like a doctor's office or urgent care where you know people will be spewing germs everywhere
      The above are so true! At the U-Wisconsin System most doctors prefer the fist bump to hand shakes. All their clinics, centers and the main hospital have masks and I am sure other medical centers have the same. Use them if you are coughing and/or sneezing. If others aren't wearing them and our hacking all over use one yourself. Also, if there are Purell dispensors use those at medical centers and grocery stores.
      Get some individual antiseptic wipes and use them when you are in restaurants after you are parked in place and don't touch the wheels again until after you finish your meal.

      For those with Transverse Myelitis check with your neurologist about all vaccines before getting one.

      And, does anyone know if there is a vaccine out this year without the H1N1 addition?
      Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

      Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

      Comment


        #4
        NL and I got ours on Thursday at the our primary care physicians office when I had my annual physical. Have been getting them for over 20 years and with the exception of one year when we got the flu shots late haven't had the flu. Anyone (and anyone who is a caregiver to someone) with compromised lung function, the inability to produce an adequate cough and and/or compromised immunity system should definitely get flu shots.

        Stay healthy,
        GJ

        Comment


          #5
          The other thing to remember about the pneumonia vaccine is boosters. If you received your first pneumonia vaccine before age 65 yrs, you will need to get a booster 5 years later.

          Take care out there and wash your hands!

          pbr
          The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

          Comment


            #6
            Flu Vaccine

            I am wondering if SCI people should get the flu shot. I am post 3 yrs with my injury and have been given the flu shot every year with no serious effect.

            I had a two nerve study done and was told I had peripheral neuropathy and on my second study it showed polyneuropathy.

            I am concerned about the Guillain Barre Syndrome with nerve damage.

            So my question is what is my best options ... to get or not without getting the GB syndrome

            Comment


              #7
              This from the CDC Center for Disease Control and Prevention
              http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/gbs_qa.htm

              Do vaccines cause GBS (Guillain-Barré syndrome)?

              It is not fully understood why some people develop GBS, but it is believed that the nerve cells are damaged by a person’s own immune system. Many types of infections, and in very rare cases vaccines, may activate the immune system to cause damage to the nerve cells.
              How common is GBS, and how common is it after people are vaccinated for seasonal influenza?

              GBS is rare. Each year, about 3,000 to 6,000 people in the United States develop GBS whether or not they received a vaccination – that’s 1 to 2 people out of every 100,000 people. This is referred to as the background rate.

              In 1976, there was a small risk of GBS following influenza (swine flu) vaccination (approximately 1 additional case per 100,000 people who received the swine flu vaccine). That number of GBS cases was slightly higher than the background rate for GBS. Since then, numerous studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines were associated with GBS. In most studies, no association was found, but two studies suggested that approximately 1 additional person out of 1 million vaccinated people may be at risk for GBS associated with the seasonal influenza vaccine. It is important to keep in mind that severe illness and possible death can be associated with influenza, and vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza infection and its complications.
              What happened in 1976 with GBS and the swine flu vaccine?

              Scientists first reported a suspected link between GBS and vaccinations in 1976, during a national campaign to vaccinate people against a swine flu virus. The investigation found that vaccine recipients had a higher risk for GBS than those who were not vaccinated (about 1 additional case occurred per 100,000 people vaccinated). Given this association, and the fact that the swine flu disease was limited, the vaccination program was stopped.
              Since then, numerous studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines were associated with GBS. In most studies, no association was found, but two studies suggested that approximately 1 additional person out of 1 million vaccinated people may be at risk for GBS associated with the seasonal influenza vaccine.
              Why did some people develop GBS after they received the 1976 swine flu vaccine?

              The Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a thorough scientific review in 2003 and concluded that people who received the 1976 swine influenza vaccine had a slight increased risk for developing GBS. Scientists have multiple theories on why this increased risk may have occurred, but the exact reason for this association remains unknown.
              Do you expect that the 2009 H1N1 vaccine will be associated with GBS?

              We expect the 2009 H1N1 vaccine to have a similar safety profile as seasonal flu vaccines, which have very good safety track records. The seasonal influenza vaccine has not been consistently associated with GBS.
              How will public health authorities investigate cases of GBS?

              Ensuring the safety of vaccines is a high priority for CDC. CDC and its partners are actively monitoring the 2009 H1N1 vaccine to ensure its safety. Several systems are in place to monitor vaccine safety. One of these systems is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)External Web Site Icon.

              CDC and FDA co-manage VAERS, which serves as an early warning system to collect voluntary reports about possible side effects that people experience following vaccinations. CDC and FDA scientists review all VAERS reports and store the information in a computerized database that is monitored to detect new, unusual, or rare health events that could be possible side effects of vaccines.

              In addition to the normal vaccine safety monitoring systems, CDC has proactively put additional monitoring systems in place to ensure safety after licensing. Some of these systems include: actively observing persons in defined geographic areas, collaborating with professional organizations for reports of any adverse events after vaccination, and conducting thorough investigations when severe adverse events occur to determine whether they may have been associated with the vaccine. Through these numerous approaches, we are able to detect any possible risk of GBS that might be associated with the 2009 H1N1 vaccine as early as possible and take appropriate action.
              How is the federal government determining whether people who receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine have an increased risk for GBS?

              GBS cases occur every year in the general population for many different reasons. To monitor whether people who receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine have an increased risk for GBS, U.S. public health officials are looking to see if the number of GBS cases reported among people who received the 2009 H1N1 vaccine is higher than the number of cases reported in the general population.

              If there is an increase in the number of reported cases, public health officials will conduct intensive investigations. If any problems are detected with this 2009 H1N1 vaccine, they will be reported to health officials, healthcare providers, and the public, and health officials will take needed action to ensure the public's health and safety.


              All the best,
              GJ

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks GJ I guess I won't be getting a flu shot this year.

                Comment


                  #9
                  We got ours last week. Anything that might help is worth it with Dave's respiratory issues. He had bronchitis a couple weeks ago. Doc did X-Ray and thankfully it was not pneumonia.
                  My daughter had never seen his X-Ray and felt bad for him. One of the lower lobes does not even show-it is chronic atelectus. (sp) It doesn't change.
                  Then I caught a bug that has lasted all week and was worried he would get it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The number of GBS cases were clustered rather highly where the swine flu itself was most prevelant. I got one of the live shots in 1976 because several deaths were directly related to our county's 4-H Fair and the clubs. I was also a member of 4-H and while not into raising livestock everyone crosses them when we enter our projects. I got my vaccine on the speed track because my brother had leukemia and any flu would have killed him. After a few nights spent with a friend so any possible reaction to the live virus would be over with I went home.

                    Almost 30 years later and a totally different different strain of swine flu and a dead vaccine and my neuro suggested my not having the N1HI shot. My primary will have a shot ready without it in a few weeks when I see her. Then again, I think I just am finishing up the flu...
                    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Do doctors have a way to check if you got immunized? My doctor asks every visit about it - if I just tell him "I was" can he verify if I really was?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        No, there is no way currently to test if you had the flu vaccine. Don't you know????

                        (KLD)
                        The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
                          No, there is no way currently to test if you had the flu vaccine. Don't you know????

                          (KLD)
                          She/he is trying to avoid telling their doc they didn't have one and doesn't want one.
                          Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                          Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Right.
                            Last edited by xsfxsf; 31 Oct 2012, 12:37 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              If you have a provider you cannot be honest with, I would think about changing providers...

                              A flu shot is strongly encouraged for everyone at risk; especially those with SCI.

                              (KLD)
                              The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

                              Comment

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