Seasonal Flu Updates
There has been an increased interest in flu shots over the past couple of weeks due to an increase in the number of reported flu cases in Wisconsin and across the country.
Starting September 4, 2013, you will be able to schedule an appointment to receive your flu vaccine either through your Primary Care Provider or during our flu clinics which will open on September 9, 2013. Please call our flu hotline toll free at 1-877-277-3326 to schedule an appointment.
Get your flu shot each year
Even if you got a flu shot last year, it is important for you to get it again this year. The CDC recommends the seasonal flu vaccine each year to fully protect you from the flu virus.
Ages 65 and Over
In addition to the seasonal flu vaccine, we are offering a high-dose flu vaccine specifically created for adults 65 and over to better protect this age group from seasonal influenza. The high-dose vaccine protects against the H1N1 flu strain. Therefore, there is no separate H1N1 shot.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Do to Stay Healthy?
The primary way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Avoid close contact with other people with flu-like symptoms.
- Teach your children these basic safety guidelines.
Should I Be Seen by a Provider or Not?
Many patients with flu-like symptoms do not need to come into the office to be seen. If you are experiencing the following:
- A fever between 100 and 101.5 degrees (for adults)
- A fever between 100 and 101.9 degrees (for children)
- In addition to the fever you have a sore throat, cough, or runny nose
- You do not have any other chronic health conditions
- Between the ages of 2 - 65
Recommendation: Isolate yourself from well persons and drink plenty of clear fluids. You may want to take acetaminophen to help lower the fever. Allow this to run its course over the next 2-4 days. If your fever spikes higher than 101.5 degrees (for adults) or 102 degrees (for children), please call your primary care provider to be assessed.
If you are experiencing a fever along with a sore throat, cough, or runny nose and you do have a chronic health condition, please call your primary care provider and speak with a member of our patient care team.
What are the Symptoms of H1N1 Flu and Seasonal Flu?
The symptoms for both types of flu are the same. A suspected case of H1N1 or seasonal flu is one where the person has a fever of 100 degrees or higher, and at least one of the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Body aches
Is the Flu Vaccine Safe?
The CDC expects the H1N1 influenza vaccine to be just as safe as the seasonal flu vaccines, which have a very good safety track record. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Americans have received seasonal flu vaccines.
Side effects from the H1N1 influenza vaccine would be rare and would be similar to those from the seasonal influenza vaccine. This includes soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, fainting (mainly adolescents), headache, muscle aches, fever, and nausea. For more information on the safety of the H1N1 vaccine, visit the CDC website.
Which Groups are at High Risk for Complications from the Flu?
The CDC recommends that high-risk groups, those who have contact with or care for people at high risk, and anyone who wants to reduce their risk of seasonal flu (including school-aged children) be vaccinated. The CDC includes the following in their list of high risk individuals:
- All children aged 6 months - 18 years
- Older adults > 50 years
- Pregnant women or women who will be pregnant during the flu season
- Individuals with chronic disease such as diabetes or other conditions affecting the lungs, heart, blood, kidneys, liver or immune system
What is the High-Dose Influenza Vaccine for Adults 65+?
- It is approved by the FDA for use in people 65 years of age or older and uses a higher dose to induce a stronger immune response. This should better protect older adults from seasonal influenza.
- About 90% of the deaths related to seasonal flu each year occur in this age group.
- It is just as safe as the standard seasonal flu vaccine. Non-serious side effects at the injection site (pain, swelling and redness) were more common because it is a higher-dose or higher-antigen vaccine. However, the side effects were still mild to moderate.
- Serious adverse events (myalgia, malaise, head ache and fever) were comparable to standard seasonal flu vaccine.
- You can find more information on the FDA website.
Why is H1N1 Flu Different than Other Types of Flu?
This is a new strain of flu, so no one has antibodies. Also, last fall's flu shot is ineffective for this strain.