Avoid the flu this winter
October 06, 2016
Health experts recommend that almost everyone age 6 months or older
receive a flu vaccine, preferably in the fall before the start of the season. However, for kids that may mean a few more tears this season.
In recent years as many as one-third of kids ages 2 through 17 received
a nasal spray vaccine. But a panel of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention recently warned that the nasal spray vaccine should not be
used this flu season. Studies show that the vaccine was not as effective
last season in preventing flu compared to the traditional shot.
No one knows why the nasal vaccine was not as effective last year, says
Dr. Shruti K. Gohil, a UCI Health infectious disease specialist. It could
be that the nasal vaccine was less effective against the predominant flu
strain last season, H1N1.
So this year kids will need to roll up their sleeves, too. But the benefits
of vaccination far outweigh the risks. Flu shots significantly reduce the
risk of getting the flu and also lessen the severity of the illness.
There are other important ways to curb your risk of getting sick, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use an
alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or
school, especially when someone is ill.
- Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap,
paper towels and alcohol-based hand rubs.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink
plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
Free flu shots will be available at the UCI Health Super Saturday health fair on October 22 in Orange.
— UCI Health Marketing & Communications
Featured in UCI Health Live Well Magazine Fall 2016