Although technically we are still in summer, experts say it is time to start thinking about getting vaccinated against the flu.
On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published its recommendations on the flu vaccine for the 2018-19 season saying that all children under six months should be vaccinated before the end of October.
It comes after a particularly deadly flu season for children last year that saw almost 180 die of the virus.
Dr. Jean Moorjani, pediatrician at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida, reveals why it is important to get vaccinated before Halloween, why the nasal spray is a good alternative and how the myth that one can get influenza from the vaccine began
On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics published its recommendations on the flu vaccine for the 2018-19 season saying that all children under six months should be vaccinated before the end of October (file image)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2017-18 season was one of the most serious in history.
During the last full week of January, the agency reported that one out of every 14 visits to doctors and clinics nationwide that week was due to flu symptoms.
That made it the highest level since the deadly swine flu pandemic in 2009.
Across the United States, 179 children died and thousands were hospitalized. The CDC said that 80 percent of the children who died were not vaccinated.
During a good year, the effectiveness of the shot can range between 50 and 70 percent.
However, when the strain known as the H3N2 virus spreads, it becomes as low as 30 percent.
In response, the AAP issued a statement on Tuesday that states that parents must ensure that all children six months and older get vaccinated against the flu by the end of October.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?
The CDC recommends receiving the vaccine in the form of an injection or nasal spray. For those who decide to go with the injectable, there are two options.
The first is a trivalent vaccine, which protects against two strains of influenza A, H1N1 and H3N2, and one strain of influenza B.
The second option, the quadrivalent flu vaccine, protects against the same strains as the trivalent vaccine, as well as an additional influenza B virus.
"It takes two weeks for your body to accumulate the antibodies, so I use Halloween as a marker of when to get it for my patients," said Dr. Moorjani.
"If you do it by then, you will be protected when the flu season is in full swing."
SHOULD I RECEIVE THE NASAL SPRAY?
The AAP recommends receiving an injection over the nasal spray option because the injection has provided more consistent protection against the strains of the virus.
"A long time ago we used to say that we received the vaccine, whether it is the injection or the spray," said Dr. Moorjani.
"We discovered that the shot was much better to protect against the virus."
For the first time in two years, the CDC updated its recommendations to include the nasal spray, known as FluMist.
The nasal spray uses live and weakened viruses that are meant to teach the body to recognize and avoid strains of the flu if you get it.
The shot works in a similar way but uses dead strains of the virus.
Presented for the first time in 2003, it was presented as an alternative for children who are afraid of needles or if a doctor runs out of vaccines.
However, the data showed that between 2013 and 2016, the spray was not as effective as the flu vaccine, particularly against the H1N1 virus.
WHAT'S IN THE FLU THIS YEAR?
Strains of the flu virus change constantly, so a new vaccine is made every year.
Scientists make the vaccine before the flu season begins and predicts which strains are most common during the next season.
For the 2018-2019 season, flu vaccines protect against three or four strains of influenza virus.
Trivalent vaccines protect against two strains of influenza A, H1N1 and H3N2, and one strain of influenza B.
Quadrivalent flu vaccines protect against the same strains as the trivalent vaccine, as well as against an additional influenza B virus.
This season will be the first time in two years that the nasal spray against influenza is available.
This is the strain of influenza A that was responsible for the 2009 influenza pandemic.
The spray manufacturer, AstraZeneca, says it has developed a new formula to better target the H1N1.
After the CDC reviewed a study that showed that American children were producing a better immune response, the agency decided that it could be added to its list of recommendation options.
"While it is better than nothing, especially if your doctor runs out of vaccines, there are children who can not receive the nasal spray because it is a living virus," said Dr. Moorjani.
"For children who have diseases such as asthma or who are immunocompromised, we do not recommend administering the nasal spray."
CAN THE VACCINE AGAINST THE FLU INFRING ME?
Dr. Moorjani says it is "a total myth, 100 percent" that he can get sick with the vaccine.
"If I put the flu shot and a child sneezes in my face that day, I'll get sick because the child sneezed in my face, not the injection," he said.
However, you did notice that it is still possible to get the virus, even if you are vaccinated against the flu.
"Getting the vaccine does not mean you will not have the flu that year, it decreases your chances, but if you get it, it helps your body fight it before," he said.
"So, instead of being sick for five or six days, you will be sick for two or three days. fever, it could be 101F compared to 104F. & # 39;
WHO SHOULD DO NOT GET THE VACCINE?
Dr. Moorjani says that the only group of people who are not eligible for the vaccine are babies under six months of age.
"Babies under six months are too young to get vaccinated, so they depend on the cocoon effect," he said.
"Then, when you are vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting babies who do not have a strong immune system."
Contrary to popular belief, she says you can get vaccinated if you have a headache or a mild cold. Only if you are seriously ill, she recommends that you avoid the vaccine.
IS IT SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN?
The CDC says that pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy can receive the injection.
Dr. Moorjani says there are several reasons for pregnant women to get vaccinated.
"Pregnant women who get the flu can have many more complications, especially with respiratory problems," she explained, which makes pregnant women more likely to need hospitalization.
He added that the protection of the shot passes to the unborn baby and helps to protect it during the first six months of life when they can not receive the vaccine.
"Antibodies not only protect mothers, they also protect the baby, which is vital, especially if they are born at the height of the flu season," said Dr. Moorjani.