Inactivated Influenza Vaccine, sometimes called the "flu shot", is given by injection into the muscle.
Live, Intranasal Influenza Vaccine, (LAIV) is sprayed into the nostrils rather than injected into the muscle.
What is the flu?
Influenza, or "flu", is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that can affect millions of people every year. It is highly contagious and occurs mainly in the late fall, winter, or early spring. When someone who has influenza sneezes, coughs, or even talks, the influenza virus is released into the air and may be inhaled by anyone nearby.
Influenza affects all age groups and causes moderate to severe illness, loss of school and work, and complications such as pneumonia, hospitalization, and death.
Why get vaccinated?
For healthy children and adults, influenza is typically a moderately severe illness.
For people who are 65 and older and those of any age who may have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart problems, influenza can be very severe and even fatal.
Bacterial pneumonia is the most common complication of influenza. This complication occurs because the body can be so weakened by influenza that its defenses against bacteria are low. In addition, the sinuses and inner ears may become inflamed and painful.
Children age 6 months through 4 years are substatially increased risk for influenza related hospitalizations and/or emergency room visits.
Who should get a flu shot?
Children ages 6 months through 4 years.
Young children are among the most likely to be hospitalized for influenza. Even if your child is in excellent health, protect his or her good health by getting the flu shot!
Children age 6 months through 4 years are at substantially increased risk for influenza-related hospitalizations and/or emergency room visits.
The hospitalization rate for children 12 months and younger are comparable to rates among people 65 and older.
Household contacts and other caregivers of children younger than 6 months also are recommended to receive an annual flu shot.
Infants younger than 6 months old cannot get a flu shot, but they can get the flu. This illness can be dangerous for a very young child; therefore, it is important for contacts of these infants to be vaccinated. Children younger than 9 years old who have never been vaccinated, two shots will be needed their first year. If a child received only one dose in the first year of vaccination, two doses should be given the second year the child is vaccinated. For best protection, be sure your child gets the first shot as early as possible.
Individuals 65 and older. Even if you are in excellent health, you have a greater risk of complications if you get the flu.
In individuals 65 and older, the vaccine is 50% to 60% effective in preventing hospitalization and 80% effective in preventing death. More than 90% of the deaths in North Dakota related to influenza and/or pneumonia are in adults age 65 and older. Influenza and pneumonia are the fifth leading cause of deaths in adults older than 65.
Adults and children with chronic (ongoing) health problems, including:
Asthma or ongoing lung problems
Adults and children with an illness (such as HIV/AIDS or cancer) or who re receiving medical treatment (such as chemotherapy) that can lower the immune system.
Children and teenagers between 6 months and 18 years old who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy have a risk of getting Reye Syndrome if they get the flu. It is important to remember that contacts of high-risk individuals, including health-care workers and family members, also should receive a flu shot to avoid passing the virus to these high-risk individuals.
Your daily exposure to sick people makes you far more likely to get (and give) the flu. Remember, your patients depend on you to stay healthy so you can help them stay healthy.
This group includes health-care workers and employeed in long-term care facilities.
Women who will be pregnant during the flu season.
Pregnant women are also at risk for serious medical complications from influenza and are recommended to receive a flu shot. They are four times more likely to be hospitalized than women who are not pregnant.
When should I get a flu shot?
October or November is the best time to get the flu shot, but you can still get vaccinated in December and throughout the flu season. In North Dakota, the flu season can start in October and last as late as May. It is never too late to get the flu shot!