Many people receive this vaccine daily, while others avoid it due to potential health hazards. This article is not intended to argue either point, rather its purpose is simply to inform those of you who would like to know more about the flu vaccine so that you can make an informed decision regarding the health of you and your family.
Just as our country decided long ago that an informed electorate is capable of making the best decision in regards to the leaders of our country, I am a huge proponent of the informed patient. To help us get an inside look at what is being used today to vaccinate against the flu virus, I turned to an ICU charge nurse from the Atlanta area who also happens to be my brother, Jordan Glaze, RN, BSN, CCRN.
First of all, let’s discuss the main facts you need to know regarding the injectable form of flu vaccine. This injection is given via IM, or intramuscular injection, using a small needle similar to insulin syringes. It is usually always given in the deltoid muscle in the upper arm and contains no live virus. The flu cell in this injectable form is indeed a dead virus. This form of the vaccine is recommended by the CDC for basically all healthy people ages six-months-old and up and is safe for use while women are pregnant. If you are currently sick, you need to discuss with your physician when the best time will be for you to receive your vaccine. It is also extremely important to notify your doctor if you are allergic to eggs. Some people report flu-like symptoms a few days after receiving the vaccine, but the CDC believes these mild symptoms are worth the risk. However, if you experience an extremely high fever, very abnormal side effects or an allergic reaction, you should seek immediate medical attention.
The second type of flu vaccine, for those who wish to avoid needles, is available in nasal spray form. This vaccine does contain live flu virus cells, and as such there are a myriad of people who should not receive this form of vaccine. This vaccine is only recommended for people ages two-years-old to 49 who are healthy. Those woman who are pregnant, as well as men and women who have weakened immune systems or are over age 49, should not receive this form of vaccine. It is always best to discuss with your physician which form you should receive prior to signing up for the flu vaccine.
Flu virus is most prevalent roughly from October through May, so as always you should practice good hand hygiene and do what you can every day to fight against bacteria.
For more information regarding flu vaccine and the choice you should make, visit cdc.gov.
Justin Glaze is an LPN and contributing columnist for the Walker County Messenger. He can be reached at 678-988-1011 or email@example.com.