Yes, it’s only September, but we’ve been seeing cases of the flu all month! Today the University of Texas kicked off our 2016 flu shot campaign, and happily, students were lined up and ready to go. Our staff does a wonderful job of efficiently providing vaccines for students, faculty and staff- Hook ’em! The vaccines are widely available now, in your doctor’s office, pharmacies and even grocery stores.

WHO: EVERYONE that is 6 months old & up (*with rare exceptions*)

WHY: THOUSANDS of people die from flu every year, here in the United States- between 3000-49,000 deaths. Hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and many millions seek care with their own doctors, costing our healthcare system over $10 BILLION each year for direct flu-related costs. Closer to home- how many days can YOU (or your kids) afford to stay home sick or try to function with miserable flu symptoms?

The flu vaccine is not perfect, since new strains emerge each year and scientists are not yet clairvoyant. If you get the vaccine, you MIGHT still get the flu- but your illness should be much milder than if you were not vaccinated. Flu vaccines do NOT cause the flu- repeat- DO NOT CAUSE THE FLU. Note that influenza is not the same as the many viruses that cause “cold” symptoms, so the flu vaccine does not protect you against getting EVERY sore throat, runny nose, cough, sneeze and fever.

What’s new for the 2016-2017 flu season?

  • ONLY INJECTABLE VACCINES this year (NO nasal spray)
    •  the nasal spray one with attenuated live virus will not be offered because last season’s data has shown it to be significantly less effective than the injectable ones
  • RECOMMENDATIONS for the 1.3% of children and 0.2% of adults with EGG ALLERGIES
    • If your egg allergy means you get only hives after eating eggs, you may receive either type of vaccine available
    • If you have a more severe egg allergy beyond hives (lip swelling, trouble breathing, passing out or vomiting), you may still receive either vaccine but it should be done in a medical setting with providers trained and able to manage severe allergic reactions.

BOTTOM LINE: Flu season is here once again. I got my flu vaccine last week- have you had yours?

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