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What you will have to find out about getting a flu vaccine this 12 months, …


Welcome to this 12 months’s flu season.

This 12 months’s flu pressure has already begun spreading throughout america, in step with new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were no less than 880,000 circumstances of influenza, just about 7,000 hospitalizations and, tragically, 360 deaths from the flu this autumn, together with one pediatric demise. No longer since 2009, all over the peak of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, have there been this many cases of influenza so early within the season.

In spite of those numbers, many of us ponder whether the flu is in reality that severe of an sickness. What’s the advantage of the vaccine, particularly if some other folks might nonetheless get the flu regardless of being vaccinated? May you get the flu from the vaccine? In the event you get the Covid vaccine, do you continue to want the flu vaccine?

To steer us thru those questions and extra, I spoke with CNN Clinical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency doctor, public well being knowledgeable and professor of well being coverage and control on the George Washington College Milken Institute Faculty of Public Well being. She could also be the writer of “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.”

CNN: Is the flu a significant sickness? What signs do other folks revel in?

Dr. Leana Wen: It definitely can also be severe. The CDC estimates that flu resulted between 9 million and 41 million sicknesses, 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 52,000 deaths once a year throughout the United States between 2010 and 2020.

Symptoms of the flu come with fever, muscle aches, complications, fatigue, coughing and a runny nostril. A large number of other folks recuperate inside of a number of days, however some might nonetheless be feeling sick so long as 10 days to 2 weeks after the onset in their signs. Some will expand headaches, together with sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, and irritation of the mind. The flu too can exacerbate underlying clinical stipulations — as an example, other folks with power lung and middle sicknesses can see their stipulations irritate because of the flu.

Even in most cases wholesome other folks can grow to be very in poor health because of the flu. Alternatively, the ones in particular at risk of critical results come with the ones 65 and older, small children underneath 2, pregnant other folks and other folks with underlying clinical stipulations.

CNN: What’s the advantage of the vaccine, particularly if some other folks might get the flu regardless of being vaccinated?

Wen: The flu vaccine does two issues. First and most significantly, it reduces your likelihood of critical sickness — this is, of being hospitalized or demise. 2d, it may additionally cut back your probability of having in poor health from the flu in any respect.

In a way, this isn’t too other from the Covid-19 vaccine. Crucial reason why to get vaccinated towards each the flu and the coronavirus is to forestall critical sickness. New information launched in the CDC’s latest morbidity and mortality report displays this 12 months’s flu vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization by about 50%. A 2018 learn about discovered that individuals vaccinated towards the flu had been 59% much less more likely to be admitted to the ICU because of influenza compared with those that had been unvaccinated.

The vaccine’s effectiveness can range relying on how effectively matched the vaccine is to circulating influenza traces. The CDC cites vaccine effectiveness towards “medically attended sickness” anyplace from 23% to 61% relying at the 12 months and vaccine-to-strain fit. It’s true, then, that it’s essential get the flu vaccine and nonetheless contract the flu. However the vaccine does cut back your likelihood thereof — and, crucially, it reduces the possibility that it’s essential finally end up very in poor health.

Some other factor to believe is that there are a large number of different viruses that can cause flu-like symptoms. The flu vaccine is helping offer protection to towards viral infections led to by means of influenza, however there are a large number of different reasons of viral syndromes, together with adenovirus, rhinovirus, parainfluenza and others. Those different viruses unfold simply, too, and there aren’t vaccines towards them. I frequently pay attention sufferers say they as soon as were given the flu the similar 12 months that they had a flu vaccine, and that’s why they don’t wish to get vaccinated once more. But if I ask them whether or not they had been if truth be told recognized with the flu or simply had flu-like signs, they’d say the latter.

CNN: Will have to youngsters and pregnant other folks additionally get the flu vaccine?

Wen: Completely. Those are teams in particular liable to critical results, so it’s crucial they obtain the flu vaccine.

One study discovered the flu vaccine reduces youngsters’s menace of critical life-threatening influenza by means of 75%. Another discovered it diminished flu-related emergency division visits in youngsters by means of part.

Identical effects are present in people who find themselves pregnant. No longer simplest does the flu vaccine protect the pregnant person, if the vaccine is given all over being pregnant it additionally is helping offer protection to their child from the flu for the primary few months of its existence. That’s necessary, since the flu vaccine isn’t to be had to small children till they’re 6 months or older.

CNN: May you get the flu from the vaccine?

Wen: No. The flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, because of this it does no longer include the are living virus and subsequently can’t purpose the flu. It’s also an overly well-tolerated vaccine, with the most typical aspect impact being discomfort on the injection website online this is long gone after an afternoon.

CNN: If you were given the Covid-19 vaccine, do you continue to want the flu vaccine?

Wen: Sure. Other vaccines goal other viruses. The Covid vaccine is helping to give protection to towards Covid, however does no longer offer protection to towards the flu, and vice versa. You’ll obtain the Covid vaccine (or bivalent booster) similtaneously you obtain the flu vaccine, simply in a distinct injection website online.

CNN: Some other folks had been ready till later within the flu season to get the flu vaccine. Is that this a good suggestion?

Wen: At this level, no, as it’s now transparent this flu season is beginning previous than standard. Circumstances are already excessive, and it takes about two weeks to achieve optimum immune coverage after vaccination. I’d inspire individuals who have no longer but won the flu vaccine to get it now.

CNN: What will have to other folks find out about remedies for the flu?

Wen: Maximum circumstances of the flu can also be handled symptomatically, which means sufferers get relaxation, hydration and remedy for signs that arise — akin to fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. There also are antiviral treatments to be had. Those are in reality necessary for other folks at excessive menace for critical influenza headaches and/or who’re very in poor health. The sooner such remedies are began, the easier. An oral drugs, oseltamivir (Tamiflu), will also be given to non-high-risk sufferers, too, inside of 48 hours of the beginning in their sickness.

I’d inspire everybody to have an influenza plan, the similar method they will have to have a Covid plan. Ask your physician upfront should you will have to obtain Tamiflu or any other antiviral remedy. Understand how you’ll get checking out and the place you’ll get right of entry to remedy, together with after hours and on weekends.

CNN: How can other folks save you catching the flu?

Wen: The flu is primarily spread through droplets — if an inflamed particular person coughs or sneezes, those droplets can land on any person else close by. It’s additionally imaginable that the droplets land on a floor, from which any person will get inflamed after touching it after which touching their nostril, mouth or eyes.

We will be able to assist to cut back flu transmission by means of staying clear of others whilst symptomatic. We will have to all cough or sneeze into our elbow or a tissue, and wash our palms continuously, together with after touching high-contact surfaces. Folks in particular liable to critical results will have to believe dressed in a masks to cut back their likelihood of contracting viral sicknesses just like the flu. And, after all, get vaccinated!

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