Never Too Early to Talk About Flu Season

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 08:32 AM

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We don't usually do flu-shot tips in August - but hey, the Browns and Giants are playing preseason football, so we'll call it "preseason" flu info.

There are some very interesting developments you might like to take advantage of. But first ... you are getting your flu shot, right? It's essential for infants 6 months and older; anyone who wants to avoid the flu; any health care provider; anyone caring for kids 5 or younger or who has asthma, diabetes, a blood disorder, a weak immune system or other chronic disorder; and women who will be pregnant during flu season.

Those 65 and older: Ask your doc about the high-dose vaccine for extra protection. Bonus benefit: You can reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke by 25 percent or more (more than 50 percent in some studies) if you get a flu shot 10 years in a row. Year after year, the shots prevent bodywide inflammation that accompanies flu infections; that inflammation can rupture plaque in your arteries, causing cardio events.

This season, the shot and nasal spray combat four strains of the influenza virus (usually, it's three). Shots are for everyone, but nasal sprays are only for healthy people ages 2 to 49 (and you can't be pregnant). And shots can be delivered with a new, less painful micro needles; ask for it for you or your child.

One last bit of good news for folks 18 to 49 with an egg allergy: There's a new manufacturing process that doesn't use eggs, so you can get the flu vaccine, called Flublok.

© King Features Syndicate

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