Flu season is here! Capital Medical Clinic has already had patients test positive for influenza so consider getting your vaccine as soon as you can. Patient education is crucial in maintaining a healthy population so I would like to address several myths surrounding the flu vaccine. First, you cannot catch the flu from the flu vaccine! This is a primary reason people skip vaccination so it is important to understand that the flu vaccine is an inactivated form of influenza and does not contain any form of live virus. Those that become ill after receiving the flu vaccine have likely caught a cold while their immune system was focused on building protection against the flu virus.
Secondly, the flu vaccine does not guarantee that you will not catch the flu. Protection rates can vary from 60-80%. More importantly, the flu vaccine protects against life-threatening complications that can result from influenza infection such as pneumonia; vaccination must be performed yearly to receive these benefits. Certain patient groups are considered high risk for complications and should receive the flu vaccine at the very beginning of flu season:
- Adults age 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- Adults with chronic diseases including diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, asthma/COPD, and/or heart disease
- Patients undergoing medical treatment that affects the immune system such as therapy for HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, etc.
- All adults living in a residential or nursing home and employees of nursing homes, medical offices, and hospitals
Any vaccination can produce side effects. The more common side effects of the flu vaccine include injection site soreness, headache, fever, nausea, and muscle aches. If you experience any side effects it is important to notify your provider even though most side effects resolve in 48-72 hours with supportive care. It is also important to discuss flu vaccination with your provider if you have an egg allergy as you may not be eligible. Capital Medical Clinic offers a free flu vaccine clinic daily…please contact our front office at 512-454-5171 for hours.
Until next time,
David Hoch, PA-C