School is back in session and fall is in the air, sad to see summer go but I sure do love this time of year. This month we have a guest blogger, Ben Varoga. Ben is a 4th year pharmacy student from NDSU who is doing a management rotation with us. Ben has also worked at our Cooper and Pinecone locations for the past few years and has some great information to share with you regarding the flu.
Flu Shot Season
Every year there is a lot of news coverage about flu vaccines and influenza in general. A lot of information out there can be misleading, and it is important to get accurate information. Influenza, or more commonly known as “the flu,” is an infectious disease caused by a virus. Some symptoms that you experience from this virus include a high fever, a runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, a headache, coughing and feeling tired. The influenza virus can also lead to more serious problems including pneumonia, hospitalizations and in rare cases, death. Last flu season there were 6,446 hospitalizations attributed to the flu in Minnesota and five pediatric influenza-related deaths. These serious events can help be prevented by getting the flu vaccine and why it is so important to get immunized every flu season.
Flu vaccines, also called flu shots, help protect against the influenza virus. These vaccines are updated every year because the virus changes rapidly. For this reason, it is important to get your flu shot every year because last year’s vaccine likely won’t protect you during this flu season. In addition, the more people that get the vaccine in a community, the less that the influenza virus spreads throughout the community. The effectiveness of this vaccine varies from year to year but most commonly they provide modest to high protection against the influenza virus.
There are different kinds of flu vaccines available; injectable vaccines and an inhaled intranasal vaccine that is again approved this year. Neither type of vaccine is recommended over another, it is just important to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is recommended for the vast majority of patients aged 6 months and older. Patients aged 65 years or older are recommended to get the high-dose flu vaccine to increase the effectiveness of the vaccine. There are even options now for people with certain allergies, such as egg allergies, to get a flu shot. It is important to talk with your local pharmacist if getting a flu vaccine is right for you.
The flu vaccine is currently offered at all of our pharmacies for everyone aged 19 years and older.
I hope everyone has a great start to the school year!
NDSU Pharm. D. Student