The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its 2016-17 flu season recommendations. One of the most notable changes is the nasal spray flu vaccine is no longer recommended due to its poor effectiveness.
Another important change is that anyone with an egg allergy can now receive the flu vaccine without additional precautions, although the CDC recommends those with a severe egg allergy receive the vaccine in a medical setting.
Both organizations recommend a flu vaccine for anyone 6 months and older as soon as the vaccine is available, and by the end of October if possible.
If you need a flu vaccine, call your primary care provider. Some Samaritan doctors’ offices schedule special walk-in flu shot days for their patients, and all Samaritan primary care and urgent/walk-in care clinics offer flu vaccinations.
Walk-in vaccinations for ages 7 and older are also available at Samaritan retail pharmacies in Albany, Lebanon and Corvallis.
“There’s no need for an appointment,” says Samaritan Pharmacist Kevin Russell. “Just come on in. We also carry all other recommended vaccinations and can give them all together in one visit. We will also bill your insurance.” Hours and locations are posted at samhealth.org/Pharmacy.
As the flu season progresses it’s important to take precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the flu. To avoid the flu and many other respiratory ailments, the following basic guidelines are recommended:
• Fully cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (crook of your elbow).
• Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and regularly, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is how germs are spread.
• Get your seasonal flu shot.
• If you are sick, stay home — do not go to work, school or out in public.
• Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.