Health

Vaccinations help prevent flu

Staff report
Posted 10/23/17

While the 2017-18 influenza season officially began Oct. 1, 27 cases of hospitalized influenza had already been reported to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30.

That is more than double the typical …

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Health

Vaccinations help prevent flu

Posted

While the 2017-18 influenza season officially began Oct. 1, 27 cases of hospitalized influenza had already been reported to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30.

That is more than double the typical number of cases for this time of year.

During the first official week of flu season, from Oct. 1-7, six hospitalizations were reported. Last year, the first report of hospitalized flu patients did not start until Oct. 24 and peaked in mid-March.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Trivalent vaccines are made to protect against three flu viruses — two influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) viruses, and an influenza B virus. Quadrivalent vaccines protect against four viruses; the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine, plus an additional B virus.

“Each year the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season,” said Alice Hughes, infection prevention manager at St. Anthony Hospital. “That’s why we encourage everyone in our community to get an annual flu shot for their health.”

A person develops antibodies approximately two weeks after vaccination and these antibodies provide protection against infection from viruses that are the same as or similar to those used to make the vaccine, Hughes said.

Flu vaccines cannot cause the flu, because the vaccines are made with either killed or weakened viruses. They are safe, and serious problems are very rare.

The most common side effect is soreness where the injection was given. This is generally mild and usually goes away after a day or two.

Visit Influenza Vaccine Safety (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccinesafety.htm) for more information.

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