Flu season is upon us once again! I thought this month would be a good time to share Myths Vs Facts on the influenza vaccine and give an update on the CDCs regulations on isolation and quarantine for this year.
MYTH #1: “The flu shot gave me the flu!”
Flu vaccines given with a needle are currently made in two ways: 1) The vaccine is made with a flu virus that has been “killed”, therefore it is not infectious. 2) The vaccine is made using a single gene from the flu virus in order to produce an immune response without causing infection. That “yucky” feeling some may feel after getting the flu shot is your immune response, it means the shot is working!
MYTH #2: “It doesn’t work”
In 2016-2017, the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations. In 2017 a study showed that the flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza. Vaccinated patients are 59% less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who have not been vaccinated, also averaging 4 fewer days in the hospital if it gets to that point.
MYTH #3: “The flu has already hit, it’s too late to get it now”
The vaccination can be beneficial as long as the flu viruses are circulating. Flu season usually peaks between December and March, but can occur as late as May. The vaccine takes 2 weeks to develop antibodies that protect against the flu virus. It is best to get vaccinated in time to be protected before flu viruses begin spreading, however getting one in late November would still protect you in December thru March.
”KDHE recommends that persons who are symptomatic with influenza-like illness (temperature of 100° or greater, a cough and/or sore throat without a known cause other than influenza) and have either a positive laboratory test for influenza or been treated with antiviral medication used to treat influenza is considered to have a case of influenza. To control the spread of influenza the following isolation requirements should be followed:
For each person hospitalized with a case, droplet precautions shall be followed for five days following onset of illness or until fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications, whichever is longer.
For each person with a case shall remain in home isolation for five days following onset of illness or until fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications, whichever is longer, except when seeking medical care.”
Good health habits such as covering your cough and washing your hands will help prevent spreading viruses as well. Hoping for a healthy flu season this year!
Jordan Sadler, RN
USD 360 School Nurse