Tag Archives: flu vaccine

Get A Flu Shot To Protect Children This Flu Season

It’s important to remember that children are more likely than adults to get sick from flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that flu may be more serious than the common cold for children and can lead to serious complications that require hospitalization. Children are likely to be exposed to flu in a classroom or day care setting, and millions get sick from the flu each season.

The first step to protecting children from the flu is to make that they and the people around them are vaccinated. DHEC and the CDC recommend that everyone aged 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine. And, remember, even healthy children — and adults — can get sick with flu.

Some children are at high risk

The CDC stresses that some children are at especially high risk of serious flu-related complications. According to the agency’s website:

  • Children younger than 6 months old are too young to be vaccinated. The best way to protect an infant from flu is for the expecting mom to get vaccinated during her and to make sure others — parents, grandparents, siblings and caregivers — around them are vaccinated.
  • Children aged 6 months up to their 5th birthday — even those that are healthy — are at high risk of developing serious flu complications.
  • Children aged 6 months through 18 years with certain long-term health problems, such as asthma, diabetes, or neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions also are at high risk for complications from flu.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on protecting children from the flu.

Where to get your flu vaccine

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or go to www.scdhec.gov/flu/fluclinics to find the location closest to you. To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider near you, go to flushot.healthmap.org. You can also find more information about preventing the flu on the DHEC website at www.scdhec.gov/flu.

Be sure to take preventative measures to avoid the flu

Make no mistake: The single best way to protect against the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older, especially people at high risk for developing serious complications from flu, get vaccinated each season.

That said, it is also important to take other preventive measures to combat the flu as well.

DHEC encourages South Carolinians to:

  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • Stay home from work and school, as well as refrain from errands, if you are sick to help keep others from getting sick too.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue if one is handy. Throw it away immediately after use. Otherwise, use the crook of your elbow to keep germs off of your hands and surfaces that you touch.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly to prevent the flu and many other diseases.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs easily enter the body and cause infection when someone touches something that is covered with germs and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Please consider other habits to stay healthy year round, including getting plenty of exercise and sleep, managing your stress, drinking water and eating nutritious foods.

Visit DHEC’s website for more information about the flu and to find a clinic near you www.scdhec.gov/flu. You can also view the video below to learn more.

Flu shots remain effective against flu; be sure to get yours

By Teresa Foo, MD, MPH
Medical Consultant
Divisions of Immunization and Acute Disease Epidemiology

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says nasal spray influenza vaccine should not be used during the 2016-17 season, there should be a sufficient amount of injectable vaccine available.  South Carolinians are encouraged to protect themselves with the flu shot.

Changed recommendations for nasal spray

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted that the intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray,” should not be used this season after data showed it did not provide good protection against the H1N1 influenza virus during the 2013-14 and 2015-16 flu seasons. The CDC conducts studies each season to gauge the effectiveness of the flu vaccine

The good news is that flu shots have still proved to be effective. Data found the injectable vaccine to be very effective in preventing flu when well matched with circulating flu strains. The CDC and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.

It is important to get vaccinated

The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu; it prevents flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed work and school due to flu, and flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The nasal spray flu vaccine has been a popular choice for vaccinating children. Data from recent seasons suggests the nasal spray accounted for about one-third of all flu vaccines given to children. The flu is not like the common cold; it is more dangerous for children, especially for very young children or those with chronic health problems like asthma or diabetes. It is important for children 6 months and older to be vaccinated with the flu shot.  Visit the CDC website for tips on how to make shots less stressful for you and your child.

Likewise, older children, adolescents and adults are recommended to get the flu vaccine each year.  Some people are more likely to get serious complications from the flu that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death.  This includes adults 50 years and older, pregnant women and anyone with chronic medical conditions like asthma, heart or lung disease and diabetes.  Vaccination is also important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.

Find a provider near you

DHEC once again will be providing school-located vaccine clinics for flu vaccine this year; the flu shot will be the only type of flu vaccine available in school clinics. School-located vaccine clinics remain a convenient way for parents to ensure their child gets the flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines are also available from health care providers, local DHEC health departments, and local pharmacies.  Those age 12 and older can receive the flu vaccine without a prescription at a pharmacy that offers flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or go to http://www.dhec.sc.gov/Health/Vaccinations/FluVaccines/FindSeasonalFluClinics/ to find the location closest to you. To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider, go to http://flushot.healthmap.org/ to search for the location closest to you.

What you need to know this flu season

By, Dr. Teresa Foo, MD, MPH
DHEC Medical Consultant Immunizations and Acute Disease Epi Divisions

This month marked the official start of the 2015-2016 flu season, and serves a reminder of the importance of receiving your yearly flu vaccine. The flu can infect anyone, even healthy people. The following Q & A provides you with the information you need to know to help protect you and your loved ones from the flu this season.

What is the Flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and can be deadly – especially to vulnerable people, including the very young, the elderly and those with certain chronic health conditions.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include a sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness. Others may throw-up and have diarrhea.    

How is it spread?

Seasonal flu is a contagious viral infection.  It is usually spread from person to person. People who have the flu may spread it to others about 1 day before getting sick to 5 -7 days after.  Most experts believe that flu viruses spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. This spreads wet drops which can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can get the flu, even healthy people. Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people (especially people 65 years of age and older), young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease). While it is important for everyone to receive their yearly flu vaccine, it is especially important for people in these high risk groups to receive vaccination.

How can you help prevent the flu?

The severity of flu seasons varies from year to year, that’s another reason why it’s important to get your flu vaccine each year. The CDC and DHEC recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine; it is the single best way to prevent seasonal flu.

In addition to receiving an annual flu vaccination, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following preventive measures:

  • Staying away from people who are sick.
  • Staying home from work, school and errands if you are sick. By doing so, you will help keep others from getting sick, too.
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue if one is handy. Throw it away immediately after use. Otherwise, use the crook of your elbow.
  • Washing your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when someone touches something that is covered with germs and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.

Other good habits include getting plenty of exercise and sleep, managing your stress, drinking water and eating good food to help you stay healthy in the winter and all year.

Where can I get the flu vaccine?

It’s important to get the flu vaccine not only to protect yourself, but also your loved ones from the seasonal flu. Even if you don’t have a regular health care provider you can still get the flu vaccine. In addition to DHEC, many local providers — including doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces — now offer flu vaccines. We encourage everyone to find the facility that works best for them.

To find the DHEC seasonal flu clinic nearest you, click here.

For more information: scdhec.gov/flu

Flu season is here, are you prepared?

By Cassandra Harris

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This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and a great reminder that it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. As you begin to prepare for this holiday season, take a moment to learn how you can protect yourself and the ones you love from the flu.

The flu can mean missed days at work or school, doctor’s visits, or worse for you and your family. From Sept. 28, 2014 to Dec. 06, 2014 (the current 2014-2015 flu season), there have been 5,827 lab confirmed cases of the flu reported in South Carolina, including over 300 confirmed hospitalizations and seven deaths. While certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu, individuals 6 months of age and older, including healthy adults, can benefit from receiving their yearly flu vaccine.

The CDC and DHEC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual flu vaccine; it is the single best way to prevent seasonal flu. Even if you don’t have a regular health care provider you can still get the flu vaccine. In addition to DHEC, many local providers — including doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools, and workplaces — now offer flu vaccines. We encourage everyone to find the facility that works best for them.

In addition to receiving your yearly flu vaccination, there are several steps you can take to help fight the flu: Continue reading