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What’s New With Flu?

Posted on Sep 2, 2011 | 10 comments

Flu season is upon us once again. Each year, 5 to 20 percent of Americans get the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The good news is that getting vaccinated is a safe way to help prevent the flu.

Getting a flu vaccine is one of the best ways to avoid the flu and stay healthy. If you haven’t yet gotten your flu vaccine, now is the time to do it.

What’s in the flu vaccine this year?

The 2011/2012 vaccine will have the same formulation as last year’s vaccine, meaning that the H1N1 vaccine will be included. However, your immunization from last year will have worn off by this year, so make sure to get your shot.

Each year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chooses three viruses to include in the seasonal flu vaccine, based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO looks at the viruses circulating in the southern hemisphere.

“Typically, we’ll see a few cases of flu in the fall and then more in December,” says Dr. Charles Weiss, urgent care physician and public health expert at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Palo Alto Center. “However, the point at which the flu peaks is unpredictable – it can be in December, January, February or March. We usually start vaccinating our patients in September, but continue our efforts throughout the flu season.”

What’s new?

  • The CDC now recommends that everyone older than six months be vaccinated. Although the H1N1 virus was downgraded to a seasonal flu last year, it still targets healthy young and middle-aged adults and pregnant women, which is unusual. In general, seasonal flu strains affect children, seniors, pregnant women and those with chronic medical problems the most.
  • People with a history of severe allergic reaction to eggs or the flu vaccine itself should consult a physician before receiving flu vaccine.
  • The flu can seriously affect pregnant women, which underscores the need for pregnant women to get vaccinated. This not only protects the mother, but will protect the newborn during the first few months, which is vital since babies cannot get the flu vaccine until they are six months.

 Visit pamf.org/flu to learn more about the flu, including:

  • General information about seasonal flu
  • Who is considered at high risk for the flu
  • What you can do to avoid getting the flu
  • When, where and how to get a seasonal flu vaccine
  • How to care for individuals with the flu

Dr. Charles Weiss, an urgent care physician and public health expert at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Palo Alto Center, contributed to this blog post.

 

Please note that we are unable to respond to personal medical questions through the comments feature below. For information about personalized health care, or if you need help in choosing a PAMF physician, please visit Becoming a PAMF Patient (http://www.pamf.org/findadoctor) or call 1-888-398-5677. If you are a PAMF patient, you can email your doctor securely via our My Health Online program. Thank you

10 Comments

  1. Is the “cloned” flu vaccine (tested last year in the UK) available yet in the US?

    • Thank you for your feedback. The flu web page is now updated with the 2011-2012 flu clinic information and dates. The first PAMF flu clinic of the season is Sunday, September 25. You can view the flu vaccince clinic schedule online at http://www.pamf.org/flu. Best wishes and thanks again for your comment.

    • Hi Linna,

      Not to my knowledge. There are a number of new flu vaccine technologies being explored including the use of cloning techniques. Stay posted!

      Thanks for your comment.
      Dr. Charlie Weiss

  2. Dear PAMF –

    When will PAMF in Moutain View be offerring 2011/2012 Flu Shots?

    • The PAMF flu vaccine clinics begin Sunday, September 25. You can visit the flu section of our website at http://www.pamf.org/flu/paloalto.html to view the schedule, details – and find the location nearest you. Thanks for your comment!

      • Do we need to make an appointment to get a flu shot, or is it on a drop in basis?

  3. When and where do we go to get flu shots this year?
    Richard & Judy Fimmel

    • The 2011-2012 PAMF flu clinic begins Sunday, September 25. You can visit the flu clinic page on our website at http://www.pamf.org/flu/paloalto.html to find the PAMF flu vaccine clinic location nearest you, times and details. Thank you!

  4. I had to click on the e newsletter and then a few more times to find the info on flu shots starting September 25th. When I put “flu shots” into the general search area I got 2010 inormation. Shouldn”t this be easier? Thanks, Linda Freed

  5. I would love to see a drive-through flu clinic. No parking problems!

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