The Flu Vaccine – An Insurance Policy for the Whole Family

The Flu Vaccine – An Insurance Policy for the Whole Family

No, it’s not foolproof. But an annual flu vaccine is a great way to insure against the flu. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. It’s designed to protect against the three or four flu viruses most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season.1

For most people, a flu vaccine can protect you throughout the flu season, which typically lasts from October to May. The best policy? Get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available, ideally in October.1

For young kids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the nasal spray vaccine for healthy children ages 2 through 8. For young children, it may work better than the flu shot (and be a little less scary, too). But if it’s not available early in the flu season, don’t wait. Go ahead with the flu shot.1

Remember: even healthy children are at risk of flu complications that are serious enough to land them in the hospital. Signs of pneumonia include chest pain and fast, difficult breathing. 2

If you’re pregnant.  In recent years, several studies have shown that the flu vaccine is safe and effective, no matter your stage of pregnancy. The flu shot protects both you and your baby. In fact, it is much more dangerous not to be vaccinated. In addition to pneumonia, the flu can lead to premature labor and other complications.

If you’re pregnant, just given birth, or are breast-feeding, however, don’t get the live (nasal mist) vaccine. You should have an inactivated version instead.3

If you’re over 65. As you age, the flu vaccine may not last as well as it does in younger, healthier people. If you’re over 65 or have a weaker immune system, you may not create as many antibodies. And, your antibody levels may drop more quickly.1

A recent study has found that a high-dose flu shot is more effective in seniors than the standard dose. Approved for people 65 and older, the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times as much as the standard dose. With its use, the researchers believe that about 25 percent of flu cases in seniors could be prevented.4

The CDC doesn’t recommend this vaccine for all seniors, though. Be sure to talk with your doctor or me to see if it’s right for you or someone your love.

Where to get a flu vaccine. You can always see your doctor or go to a health or student clinic. But you can also come to our pharmacy and the pharmacists can give you a flu shot. We even bill your insurance! We make it easy for you. If you have any questions about how to do this, just let me know. Walk ins are welcome.

Other ways to stay healthy—and keep others healthier—throughout flu season?

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Stay away from sick people—as much as possible.
  • If you come down with the flu, stay home. 1 After all, your productivity won’t matter as much if you make everyone at your workplace sick!

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Back to School: A Handy Health & Safety Checklist

Back to School: A Handy Health & Safety Checklist

It’s just about that time again: Time to switch from swimsuits to school clothes and from beach bags to backpacks. That’s the easy part. What about preparing your child to have the healthiest and safest school year possible? Here’s a handy checklist to help.

  1. Schedule medical, eye, and dental checkups. Before school starts, check with the pediatrician to see if your child needs any immunizations. Vision and hearing tests are also a good idea, although schools perform hearing tests during certain grades.1 If your child is playing sports, ask the pediatrician whether a special checkup is needed. With certain sports, concussions can be a serious problem. Talk to the doctor about ways to protect your child.2
  2. Organize your child’s medical history records. Provide copies to your child’s school or daycare providers. I can help you pull some of this together, but the list should include your child’s:
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical problems such as asthma or allergies
  • Previous surgeries
  • Emergency contacts2
  1. Communicate about transportation. Some kids get dropped up and picked up by parents. Others carpool. Still others walk, bike, or take the bus. And, of course, teens may have their own wheels. Regardless, it’s important that your kids be—and feel—safe getting to and from school.
  • If you or another adult picks up your child, agree on a time and place for pickups. Explain what to do if the driver is running late.
  • If your child walks or bikes, do a dry run and explain any potential traffic hazards.
  • If your child or teen takes the bus, find a safe route and agree on a visible pick-up and drop-off spot. Ideally, this is a place where other kids are around and adults can clearly see them.
  • If your teen drives to school, be crystal clear about safe driving—including ditching that teen temptation: texting while driving.

Create an emergency plan in case anything goes awry. In fact, make sure your child knows what to do in an emergency—whether at home or at school or anywhere in between.2

  1. Remember that there’s more to school than hitting the books. For example, good nutrition and exercise are essential for brain health. Here are a few other reminders:
  • Be consistent about bedtime and wake-up times. Growing kids need at least 8 hours of sleep—and teens need even more.1
  • Make homework a habit by having clear routines. But don’t overlook free time and friend time.
  • Explain ways to prevent infection such as by regularly washing hands and by not sharing hats or other clothing. That’s one way lice get around!
  • Keep lines of communication open. Listen for signs of bullying or other concerns. Many parents find that car rides are a great time to have nonthreatening conversations with their kids. Contact the school if a problem like bullying does arise.3,4

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 Sources

  1. WebMD: Back-to-School Health Checklist. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/back-to-school-health-checklist Accessed 7/3/16.
  1. EmergencyCareForYou: Homework for Parents—Your Child’s Back-To-School Health Checklist. Available at: http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/Health-Tips/Child-Emergencies/Homework-for-Parents-%E2%80%94-Your-Child-s-Back-To-School-Health-Checklist/ Accessed 7/3/16.
  1. National Association Of School Nurses: Back to School Family Checklist. Available at: https://www.nasn.org/portals/0/resources/BacktoSchoolChecklistFamily_2015.pdf Accessed 7/3/16.
  1. CDC: Back to School Health & Safety Checklist. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/2013/docs/back-to-school/Back-to-School-Checklist.pdf Accessed 7/3/16.