It’s that time of year again—fever, sniffles, and aches abound. Even though it may still be 90+ degrees outside, flu season has officially begun. Make sure you take your family for their annual flu vaccination, especially if you have younger children or elderly family members. But get ready: you may be a little surprised at the latest update from the CDC concerning the nasal spray flu vaccine, formally known as Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV).
The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine: CDC Releases New Research
The CDC recently voted that the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. Why? A recent study on a group of 2- to 17-year-old children revealed that the nasal spray was only 3% effective against any flu virus. This essentially means that no protective benefit could be measured.
What Flu Vaccine Should I Get?
The flu shot is your best bet for this 2016-2017 flu season. Flu shots were found to be 63 percent effective against any flu virus among children from 2 to 17 years.
Studies validated that the nasal spray (LAIV) was less effective than the flu shot for this current flu season. Reports from the 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2015-2016 flu seasons also revealed sub-standard results for the nasal spray flu vaccine.
Why is the Flu Shot Good?
The CDC recommends that children six months of age or older be given the flu vaccination to control the spread and lessen the risks associated with the flu. If you’re thinking of avoiding the flu shot, because, “Well, it’s just the flu and my kid hates shots,” you may want to think again— especially if your child is under the age of 5 or has chronic health problems like asthma attacks, heart disease, liver disorders, kidney disorders, weakened immune systems, or neurological disorders. The flu can make chronic health problems worse.
If you have elderly family members, it’s important to note that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared to younger adults. High risk groups are prone to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections. On the more severe side, the flu is responsible for thousands of deaths a year, with ninety percent of those deaths being elderly adults age 65 and older.
Research accounts for 3,000 – 49,000 influenza-related deaths per year. This may not seem like a lot, but one study found that there were double the amount of deaths during seasons when influenza A (H1N1) or influenza B viruses predominated. So, when in doubt about whether to get the flu vaccination or not, consider the statistics—63% effectiveness with the flu shot is much better than 0% protection without the flu shot.
If a family member catches the flu and experiences any of the following symptoms, it’s best to take them to Hospitality Health ER:
- Dehydration – can’t replenish fluids
- Chest Pain
- Breathing Problems
- Fever that won’t go away
- Inability to Hold Food Down
- Cough, headache or congestion that won’t go away
- Severe sore throat that prevents you from swallowing