Cold & Flu FAQ

Cold & Flu Prevention
Posted on 10/10/2019

Article by  Dr. Lisa Boucek

With the start of the holiday season, along comes the cold and flu season of 2019/2020. In previous flu seasons, 85% of the children that died from the flu did not receive the flu vaccine. The yearly influenza immunization is the best way to prevent getting “The Flu.”

Who should get the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is recommended for all individuals 6 months of age and older. It is especially recommended for those at high risk for flu complications: Individuals with asthma and other lung disorders, diabetes, blood disorders, cancer, heart disease, young children, immunocompromised conditions, and certain neurologic conditions, just to mention a few.

How long after receiving the flu vaccine will I be protected?
It takes about 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine for your body to develop protective antibodies against the flu.

I received the flu vaccine last year, why do I need it every year?
Each year, the flu vaccine is created to protect against 4 flu viruses, which are predicted to spread and cause the most illness during the flu season. Viruses are constantly changing, and so each year, a new vaccine is designed to protect against the particular flu virus of that season. This is based on over 100 influenza centers in over 100 countries that do year-round surveillance and make recommendations for the yearly flu vaccine. In addition, your immune response (the protection you have from the vaccine) declines over time. Therefore, yearly flu vaccine is required to provide the most protection.

I received the flu vaccine and still got the flu!
Unfortunately time is of the essence with the creation of the flu vaccine. Some flu viruses do not appear or spread until after the flu season has started. It takes approximately 6 months for manufacturers to make the vaccine in large enough quantities to protect all of us. Don’t forget that there are many other viruses that cause flu-like symptoms.

Can the flu vaccine cause the flu?
No, the vaccine we give at North Scottsdale Pediatrics is a killed (inactivated) virus. It is not infectious. In addition, recombinant influenza vaccines only use a portion of the virus to produce an immune response – this cannot cause infection.

How else can I protect myself and my family from flu and other viruses during cold and flu season?
The importance of hand hygiene cannot be exaggerated in preventing colds and flu. Use soap and water and wash hands for ~20-30 seconds (this is the amount of time to sing “Happy Birthday” in your head). If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead. If sick, limit your contact with others. Make sure to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. If you have a fever, you should stay home from work/school for at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as this is how many germs are transmitted. In addition, make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet. Prevention is key when it comes to cold and flu viruses.

cold and flu prevention

North Scottsdale Pediatrics

  • Ironwood Office - 9827 N. 95th St. Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Phone: (480)-860-8488
  • Deer Valley Office - 21807 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85255 Phone: (480)-860-8488

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