The 2017-2018 flu season was a bad one. The dominant viral strain, H3N2, was an especially severe form of influenza, which lead to widespread and serious illness across the U.S. According to the CDC, the flu and its complications killed around 80,000 people last year, including 180 children. That is the highest death toll in four decades. We will explain everything you need to know about the flu shot in 2018-2019.
What You Need to Know About the Flu Shot in 2018-2019
What Viruses Will the 2018-2019 Flu Vaccine Protect Against?
There are numerous different flu vaccines and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed every year and updated as necessary to match circulating flu viruses. Depending on the vaccine, flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common. For the flu shot in 2018-2019, trivalent (three-component) vaccines contain the following:
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019 A(H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus (updated)
The quadrivalent (four-component) vaccine protects against a second lineage of B viruses. They are recommended to contain the three recommended viruses above, as well as B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.
When Do I Need to Get the Flu Shot?
The CDC recommends getting your flu shot by the end of October because it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect. This is also before the bulk of the 2018-2019 flu season hits.
However, if you miss this time frame, you can still get a flu vaccine well into the fall and winter.
Which Flu Shot is Best?
Certain flu shots are approved for specific age ranges. However, the CDC does not recommend any version of the vaccine over any other. The most important thing, according to the CDC, is for everyone six months and older to get a flu vaccine every year.
If you are unsure of which flu shot is best for you, contact your doctor here at Brashear Family Medical and we can discuss the options available.
Can You Get Sick from the Flu Shot?
Flu vaccines consist of inactivated or weakened versions of the influenza virus. Therefore, they help your body produce illness-fighting antibodies, but do not cause infection. While you won’t get a full-blow bout of the flue after receiving the vaccine, you may experience mild versions of symptoms of the flu as your body builds its immune response.
Side effects of the flu shot can include the following:
- pain or redness in the arm where you get the vaccine
- body aches
- low-grade fever
If you get the nasal spray, you may experience the following side effects:
- runny nose
- sore throat
Can I Get the Flu Vaccine if I am Allergic to Eggs?
The recommendations for people with egg allergies are the same as last season. These include the following:
- People who experience only hives after exposure to egg can get any licensed flu vaccines that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health.
- People who have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs, such as the following:
- respiratory distress
- recurrent emesis
- needed epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention
Are There Flu Shots Specifically for Older Adults?
Yes, over the past several years, vaccine makers have developed vaccines that work better with an aging immune system. Most research studies to date show that these stimulate aging immune systems to produce more antibodies to influenza. In addition, there’s some evidence that these vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalization due to influenza.
There are two flu vaccines that are specifically approved for people age 65 and older, which include the following:
- Fluzone High Dose
Does Medicare Cover the Cost of the Flu Vaccine?
Yearly vaccination is 100% covered by Medicare, with no deductible or co-pay.
Therefore, if you receive your flu shot from a health provider that accepts Medicare payment, there will be no cost.
For more information about the flu shot in 2018-2019 or to schedule your vaccination appointment, contact us here at Brashear Family Medical with the link below!