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Posts Tagged ‘The Flu’

The Flu and You, Part 3: But…The Shot Made Me Sick Last Year! By Our Sadly Soon To Depart Student Pharmacist, Rich Carter.

Well, this is my last blog post. Writing blogs has been an amazing experience! I will try to leave you with a final thought on what you should do if you run into common barriers to getting the flu shot.

In my experience, there is one main barrier (although I like to call it an excuse) for people getting the flu shot. I will attempt to convince non-believers that this barrier is a misconception. I hope that everyone (well, almost everyone) who saw my blog from two weeks ago will get the flu shot to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe from contracting the flu this season. As usual, all of the information contained in this blog can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website (here).

The most common barrier we hear is:

“The shot made me sick last year!”

(This excuse is one I also heard from my uncle who I couldn’t convince, even with my eight years of education with which he is intimately aware of, that he did not get the ‘flu’ from his shot. So, this blog is dedicated to him!)

The regular flu shot is not capable of causing the full-blown flu. There are several reasons why someone might get a “flu-like” illness, even after they have been vaccinated against the flu.

  • The first and most likely reason people think that the shot gave them the flu is they contracted a common cold. The common cold is caused by a virus called rhinovirus which is not covered by the flu shot. This virus can give you a very unhappy time, but it is not extremely serious. The actual flu is very serious and can lead to hospitalization and death.
  • Another explanation is that it is possible to be exposed to the flu virus, which causes the flu, shortly before getting the flu shot or just after getting the shot. It takes two weeks to develop the proper immunity to the flu virus, so you are protected. If you get the shot in this window of time, you could get sick. This is another perfect reason to get the flu shot today. Don’t wait!
  • A third reason why some people may experience flu-like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a flu virus that is very different from the viruses the shot is designed to cover. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the “match” between the viruses selected (usually three, see last week’s blog) to make the vaccine and those spreading and causing illness. There are many different influenza viruses that spread and cause illness among people. The CDC has a limited amount of time to narrow down which viruses seem to be the most prevalent so that the shot can be created each year to cover the most probable strains.
  • The last and most unlikely reason is… you actually got the flu the vaccine was supposed to prevent. This can happen. The CDC does the best it can, but for some reason or another, in some instances, the flu shot doesn’t cover for the virus. This is very unlikely, but it could happen, so I am inclined to include it.

I hope that this information has been helpful! I have enjoyed writing these blogs and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Plain City and its inhabitants! Feel free to stop by and say hello, as I will be moving on to my next month-long rotation at Ohio State on the first of October.

What is the Flu and What Can I Do to Avoid It? By Jimmy Byun, Who Can Administer Your Flu Shot!

What is the Flu?

The flu is an infection caused by the flu virus. When you have the flu, you will have a fever (usually 100ºF to 103ºF in adults, and sometimes higher in children) and symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches, fever, and extreme tiredness. These problems look similar to the ones for common colds, but the symptoms are more intense especially with muscle aches and fever. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose, which is rare with the flu.

How do I get the flu?

Flu viruses are spread by droplets produced when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it. Then when you touch your mouth or scratch your nose, the virus can pass to you and make you sick with the flu.

What can I do to prevent getting the flu?

The most important thing you can do to prevent the flu is to wash your hands frequently. Washing your hands washes the virus away (and it eventually dies on its own), leaving your hands clean and free of flu viruses.

Another important thing to remember is to use your arm to cover your mouth when you cough instead of your hands. Avoid touching things that many people touch, and throughout the day avoid moving your hands to your mouth, eyes, or nose.

Getting a yearly flu shot can also help you avoid getting the flu. You can get the flu shot from us anytime. Feel free to ask us about it.