Three types of flu shots availableFlu prevention comes in a variety of forms for the upcoming influenza season, with a few different vaccine options. “We’ve got injections and (nasal) spray, and this year, we do have the high dose … for people 65 and older,” said Marcia Bollingberg, director of nursing at Central Valley Health District.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Flu prevention comes in a variety of forms for the upcoming influenza season, with a few different vaccine options.
“We’ve got injections and (nasal) spray, and this year, we do have the high dose … for people 65 and older,” said Marcia Bollingberg, director of nursing at Central Valley Health District.
Three types of flu shots are available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All of them, as well as the nasal spray, have been tested and approved to prevent three different strains of the influenza virus.
Influenza is not the stomach flu or a common cold. It is a potentially severe respiratory illness whose symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches, aches and fatigue, as well as, sometimes, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC.
“People get very sick, and it can lead to pneumonia and death,” said Robin Iszler, unit administrator with Central Valley Health District.
Only about 50 percent of people infected with the flu will develop its classic symptoms, and it is possible to have the flu without any fever.
Complications of the flu include pneumonia and inflammation of the heart, according to the CDC, as well as dehydration, ear or sinus infections and worsening of chronic health conditions, according to CVHD.
Annually, an average of 23,607 people die from the flu, and approximately 90 percent of them are age 65 and older.
Flu season can begin as early as October and can last through May, according to the CDC, and new shots are needed every year because the flu viruses change.
People who are especially at risk for the flu and complications of the flu include people who are pregnant or age 65 or older, as well as people who have chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, morbid obesity, heart disease, or neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions and people with compromised immune systems due to chemotherapy, HIV or other factors.
Parents, grandparents and siblings of infants should also be sure to get vaccinated, Iszler said.
People should be well when they go in for their shots, she added.
If immune-compromised, people should be sure to check with their doctors before getting the vaccine, too, Bollingberg said.
Typically, flu vaccines cost about $25 to $40 without insurance, but in most cases insurance carriers will pay the whole cost of the vaccine. People without insurance can receive assistance with the costs of the shot at CVHD.
Vaccine options include:
* The regular seasonal flu shot, which is injected into muscle. It has been approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, according to the CDC.
* The high-dose flu vaccine, for people age 65 and older, which is also injected into muscle.
“Their immune system is a little more compromised and this gives them better protection,” Bollingberg said of the higher-potency vaccine.
* The intradermal vaccine, which is injected into the skin, and is approved for people 18 to 64 years of age.
* The nasal spray flu vaccine, which is approved for healthy people age 2 through 49 who aren’t pregnant.
“Even the flu shot for the arm, there’s different formulations for different age groups,” Iszler said. CVHD has the regular flu shot, the nasal spray, and for the first time, the high-dose shot.
CVHD offers flu shots for children at a minimal cost, and the organization will visit area schools in October to administer the vaccine to children. Consent forms are available at centralvalleyhealth.org.
CVHD will also visit businesses or organizations to administer vaccines if requested, Bollingberg said, and at least 40 businesses a year in Jamestown have their employees vaccinated.
“They want to keep their employees well,” she said.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin
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