Stop the Flu this Year

Four-Way Flu Vaccine Offers Extra Protection

This year’s flu vaccine covers four strains of influenza instead of the usual three, and the convenient FluMist is now the recommended method for vaccinating children.

Flu Facts

  • According to CDC, everyone aged 6 months and older should receive an influenza vaccine yearly.
  • Flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
  • During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older.

What’s New with the Flu This Year?

For the 2014-2015 flu season, ThedaCare will offer a quadrivalent flu vaccine, when it is available, for pediatric and adult patients.

  • Quadrivalent means the vaccine covers four types of flu viruses, as opposed to the traditional trivalent, or three-virus vaccine.
  • The quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses, whereas the trivalent protected against two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus. The trivalent vaccine will also remain available.
  • This year, new manufacturing technologies have made it possible to cost-effectively protect people from both types of influenza B in one (quadrivalent) vaccine.
  • FluMist, the nasal flu vaccine, is also quadrivalent. Some versions of the flu vaccine, such as high-dose, are only offered in the trivalent version.

2014-2015, CDC recommends use of the nasal spray vaccine for healthy children 2 years through 8 years of age when it is immediately available and if the child has no contraindications or precautions to that vaccine. Joshua Block, MD, family medicine physician at ThedaCare Physicians–Darboy explained that FluMist is more readily absorbed into the bloodstream via the nasal passages, and it’s much more convenient to administer to young children instead of a traditional flu shot. “FluMist is made from a very miniscule portion of significantly weakened live flu virus, as opposed to the dead virus in a shot. Together with its quicker and more effective absorption, it provides better immunity against the flu and has become the preferred method of delivery.”

Do your part to protect yourself and others around you. “We should not only protect ourselves from the flu, but we should protect our loved ones, too,” said Dr. Block. “In particular, newborn babies and the elderly are especially susceptible, and they can quickly become very sick, sometimes with pneumonia or a need for hospitalization. When you get immunized, you are doing your part to limit the spread of influenza.”

So make sure you get vaccinated against the flu this year!

 Dr. Joshua Blockis a family physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Darboy. He is accepting new patients. People can call (920) 358-1900