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Posts Tagged ‘Flu Vaccine’

A Short Guide to Everything You Need to Know About the “Flu.” By Our September Student Pharmacist, Chris Santos.

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What is the Influenza virus or “flu”?

The “flu” is a highly contagious virus that infects our respiratory system—nose, throat, and lungs.

A person experiencing an influenza infection may have:

  • fever/chills
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • headache
  • runny or stuffy nose

These symptoms begin one to four days (average two days) after you are exposed to the virus.

How common is the “flu” virus infection?

  • Each year between October and February, the influenza virus infects approximately 5% to 20% of the United States population.

Who has the highest rate of “flu” infection?

  • Infants and young children have the highest rates of an influenza infection. An influenza infection is the leading cause of office and emergency department visits by infants and young children.

Who has the highest risk for complication, hospitalization, and death?

  • Adults aged 65 and older are at the highest risk for complications, hospitalization, and death.

How can I become infected with the “flu” virus?

  • The influenza virus spreads most commonly to those in close contact with an infected person who is sneezing or coughing. Although less common, the virus can also spread when a person touches an infected surface or object and then touches their mouth, eyes, or nose.

How do I prevent a “flu” virus infection?

  • The most important step you can take to prevent a “flu” infection is to get a flu shot. Even if you get the flu shot, you will experience fewer symptoms if you are infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends frequent hand washes and staying away from those infected as additional prevention strategies. 

How long am I contagious with the “flu” infection?

  • You can spread the “flu” virus one day before experiencing “flu” like symptoms and five to seven days after becoming sick. Younger children and adults with a weaken immune system can spread the virus for a longer period.

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What should I know about flu vaccine?

  • The flu vaccine exposes your body to a dead virus strain to build your immune response.
  • Each year, scientists change the “flu” virus strain in the vaccine to predict the most prevalent virus.
  • The flu vaccine does not contain a live virus and it cannot cause you to experience symptoms of the flu.
  • It takes two weeks for your body to fully develop protection against the flu virus. You can get the flu within these two weeks, as you haven’t developed full protection—the full protection lasts the entire flu season.
  • The vaccine cannot provide protection against a flu virus not covered by the vaccine. Even though the strain may not exactly match, it can still offer you some protection.
  • Thimerosal, a preservative for the “flu” vaccine, does not cause any harm. Flu vaccines without a thimerosal preservative are available.

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Who should not get the flu vaccine?

  • If you have any severe allergic reactions to any components of the flu vaccine, please discuss this with you doctor or pharmacist.
  • If you ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome, please discuss this with your doctor.
  • If you are not feeling well, your pharmacist may ask you to come back another date when you are feeling better to get the vaccine.

What are some reactions to the flu vaccine?

  • Patients are most likely to experience injection site reaction of pain, redness, swelling, and soreness.
  • Other possible side effects include: hoarseness, cough, fever, aches, headache, itching, or fatigue.
  • To help manage local site reactions, apply cold compresses. You can also take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to help.
  • If local site reactions worsen after three days or last longer than seven days, you should see your primary care physician.

These side effects occur immediately after the shot and last about one to two days.








It’s Not Too Late To Get A Flu Shot!!


It’s not too late to stop in the pharmacy and get a flu vaccine.

Flu season often starts in October and runs all the way in to May. Peak flu season is usually between December and February! So even if you are thinking it’s too late for the vaccine, it is not. In fact, since it takes about two weeks to develop the antibodies to fight off the flu, the sooner you come by, the sooner your body can begin working to fight off flu germs.

No one wants to be sick during the holiday season and one of the best defenses against that is getting a simple vaccine.

Sometimes, people say that the last time they received the flu vaccine, they became ill. The flu vaccines cannot give you the flu. However, if you have encountered the flu before getting your vaccine and then you are vaccinated, it may seem like there was a cause and effect relationship. The real reasoning behind this, however, is that it takes two weeks for your immune system to be able to fight off the flu. If you encounter the flu before then, your body is not ready with the necessary antibodies and you may become ill. But the flu vaccine was not the culprit.

Getting the flu vaccine saves lives. As the infograph below explains, in 2012-2013, the vaccine prevented 6.6 million flu-related illnesses and 79,000 hospitalizations!

If you have any questions about getting your flu vaccine, please ask to speak to Jennifer, Joe, Mark, or any of our other pharmacists.

You can also gain more knowledge by reading several interesting articles on the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) web site:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/general/factsheet-whats-new-2016-17.pdf
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/current.htm



Flu Vaccine: Anything and Everything You Might Want to Know. By Our October Student Pharmacist, Nadia Szymanski.

What is the flu?

The seasonal flu is caused by a virus called influenza and may result in symptoms such as fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches.

Generally, the flu virus is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing.

The flu season in Ohio begins in October and continues through late March. Most people who get the flu recover in two weeks. However, of the estimated 200,000 people who will get the flu in the U.S., more than 20,000 flu-related deaths occur annually. Many of these deaths could be prevented by the flu vaccine.


Who should get a flu shot?
The flu vaccine is designed each year to protect people from the three or four strains of the influenza virus that are predicted to be the most common that season.

The flu vaccine is recommended annually in everyone over 6 months of age. Children under 6 months old are at the highest risk of getting the flu because they are too young to be vaccinated.

Receiving the flu vaccine is particularly important for those who are:

  • Pregnant
  • Under 5 years of age (particularly under 2 years old)
  • Over 65 years of age
  • Have certain chronic medical conditions
  • Live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
  • Live with or care for those who are high risk

How does the vaccine work?
The vaccine is made from an in-activated influenza virus that is no longer able to cause the flu. When you are given the vaccine, your body sees what the virus looks like and remembers it. If you come into contact with the virus again, your immune system can rapidly and effectively mount a response to the virus and you will not experience symptoms or the symptoms will not be as severe and may go away more quickly.

The flu vaccine is an injection into your muscle. Side effects after the shot are rare, but you may experience some soreness in the muscle, redness or swelling where the shot was given, low grade fever, or body aches. These symptoms are generally minor and will go away in a day or two.

Flu-shotI got the flu shot and still got sick?
Some people receive the flu vaccine and then get sick with flu-like symptoms. These symptoms can occur for a few reasons:

  • The flu vaccine does not work immediately. It takes about two weeks for your body to build protection against the influenza virus and it is possible for you to get the flu during this time period.
  • You may become ill during flu season due to a different virus, such as the rhinovirus, that can produce symptoms similar to those caused by influenza.
  • You may come in contact with a strain of the influenza virus that is not covered by the vaccine.
  • Unfortunately, some may still get the flu despite getting the vaccine. The protection that the vaccine provides varies widely and depends on your age, health status, and other factors at the time of vaccination. The vaccine works the best in younger, healthy adults and older children. Some older adults and those with a compromised immune system may not be able to develop as much immunity after the vaccination. The flu vaccine is still recommended in those who may develop less immunity because it can still help prevent the flu.

What types of flu vaccine are available?
Plain City Druggist offers three types of flu vaccines: trivalent, quadrivalent, and high dose.

  • Trivalent vaccine – offers protection against the three most anticipated strains of the influenza virus for the season and is recommended in anyone 6 months and older.
  • Quadrivalent vaccine – offers protection against the top four strains of the virus. Some forms of the quadrivalent vaccine are recommended for all those 6 months and older and some are recommended in those 3 years and older. While the quadrivalent vaccine covers an additional strain of the flu and, therefore, may offer more protection against the flu, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend one flu vaccine over the other.
  • High dose – is recommended in those 65 years and older. It is intended for older adults because, as we age, our immune system gets weaker. The high dose form of the vaccine is designed to help 
older adults’ bodies produce a stronger immune response and, therefore, better protection against the flu.

Please see the pharmacy for additional information on which forms of the flu vaccine your insurance covers.
For more information, please also visit the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm or the Ohio Department of Health at http://www.odh.ohio.gov/features/odhfeatures/seasflu/seasonalinfluenza.aspx.

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You Can Still (And Should) Get a Flu Shot! By Our February Student Pharmacist, Ashley Sullivan.


It’s not too late to get your flu shot!

Did you know flu season peaks in January and February? If you thought you had evaded getting the flu, you might not be out of the woods just yet. The good news is it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine. Stop by Plain City Druggist to get vaccinated by one of our pharmacists.

Why should you get the flu vaccine? While it’s true that this year’s flu vaccine hasn’t been nearly as effective as usual, it is still worth receiving. Previous vaccines decreased the likelihood of getting the flu by 50-60%. This year’s vaccine only reduces the risk by 23%. However, that still makes you 23% less likely to get the flu than a non-vaccinated person! In addition, if you get the flu after being vaccinated, you may have milder symptoms and a shorter duration of illness. There are still benefits to getting the flu shot!

The Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC) recommends anyone 6 months and older get a yearly flu shot, especially those who are pregnant, elderly, or young children. Currently pharmacists can vaccinate anyone over 14 years old, but this will change to 7 years old on March 19. There is also a high dose flu vaccine recommended for those 65 years and older. By getting vaccinated you aren’t only protecting yourself from illness, you’re also protecting everyone around you – especially those at higher risk of getting the flu.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine! The vaccine is an inactivated (killed) virus, which means it can’t cause illness. You may have mild flu symptoms for 2-3 days after receiving the vaccine, but if you end up with the full blown flu, you were probably exposed prior to being vaccinated. The flu vaccine takes 2 weeks to develop antibodies and if you’re exposed during this time you may still get the flu. Getting the vaccine sooner is better. Be careful of exposure during the first 2 weeks after vaccination.

You should not get the flu vaccine if you have a severe allergy to eggs, a history of severe reactions to the flu vaccine, have moderate to severe illness with a fever, or have a history of Guillain- Barre Syndrome.

Flu season can run through May, so there is still plenty of time to get sick if you haven’t received your flu vaccination. Early immunization is most effective, but it’s not too late to get the vaccine in February or beyond. Most insurance companies cover flu vaccines and you don’t need a prescription.





The Flu and You, Part 2: What Flu Shots are Available and Which One is Right For Me? By Our September Student Pharmacist, Rich Carter, Who Can Give You Your Flu Shot.

Hello, ladies and gentlemen–I know you have been waiting with baited breath for my next installment of “The Flu and You,” so here we go.

I mentioned last time that we were going to discuss additional facts about the flu vaccine to dispel any fiction floating around and allow us to make a well-informed decision on what to do about the flu shot.

From my last installment, I hope I convinced you that most, if not everyone, should get a flu shot. What I want to talk about this week is the possible flu vaccine options that are available and how to choose the most appropriate option for you.

I will again be using information directly from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, just as I did last week. If you need more information, feel free to visit that site here.

Without further adieu, here we go.

The flu vaccine is currently available in four main different “formulations” and they are (with recommendations):

  1. Trivalent dose (the regular flu shot)
    1. This formulation has three different strains of the flu virus in it. It is universally agreed upon that this vaccine will give adequate protection to all individuals ages 2 and up.
    2. This is the ‘standard’ by which all the others are being judged, and is, at this time, completely adequate for seasonal flu.
    3. My personal feeling is that until these new flu options (below) are proven to be better than the normal trivalent, I would stick with the regular flu shot.
  2. Quadravalent dose
    1. This formulation has four different flu virus strains in it, which would allow for more coverage against an additional strain of the virus.
    2. There is some thought that the presence of four strains in one combination could be problematic. An ongoing study is trying to show that this flu shot has the same amount of effectiveness as the regular trivalent one.
  3. High-dose
    1. This flu shot covers the same three strains of flu as the regular flu shot.
    2. This shot differs in that it is targeted (or marketed, if you want) towards older individuals (>65 years old). It has a much higher concentration of active ingredients than the standard dosing.
    3. The jury is still out on this formulation. Studies have shown that the high-dose shot causes a higher response from the immune system than the regular dose. The important thing to note is that a higher response from the immune system is great, but does that mean necessarily better protection? The answer, unfortunately, is we don’t know. There is a large study going on right now to determine this, and we will see…probably next year.
  4. Intranasal live, attenuated (weakened)–and, yes, up the nose, but no rubber hose, I promise! This formulation is different from all of the others.
    1. First, this vaccine is not an injection (yes, that’s right–no needles). It is a spray which shoots up into the nostril.
    2. Second, it is a “live attenuated” vaccine. For those unsure of what that means, it is a technically alive, extremely weakened strain which will not provoke a response from your immune system (you will NOT get the flu from using this).
    3. It is only approved for people aged 2 to 49 years.
    4. You can get some mild, short-lasting symptoms, which could include:
      1. Runny nose
      2. Fever over 100 degrees
      3. Sore throat

If I were pressed to make a decision on which flu shot to get, I would just (for now anyway) stick to the regular one. The regular flu shot is proven effective, and, as of now, the others are not proven to be any better. I hope this makes your choice as simple as mine.

As always, if you are unsure of which shot is right for you, feel free to contact us. We will steer you in the right direction. Stay tuned for my last hooray about flu shots next week when we explore my final topic… To… Be… Continued…