Flu vaccine 411
Q. Who should get flu vaccine?
Everyone who is at least six months of age. The flu vaccine is not approved for use in babies under six months. If you have a baby under six months of age living in your home, he relies on those around him to be vaccinated. So roll up your sleeve (or take a big sniff) to protect your child.
Q. Is it too early to get the flu vaccine now?
No. Flu season usually arrives later in the fall and winter, but it can come unpredictably early. So, it’s a good idea to get the vaccine as soon as it is available. The immunity provided by the vaccine lasts about a year, so you should still be protected even if flu doesn’t show up until February or March.
Q. Can I get the flu vaccine if I have an egg allergy?
Possibly. Both live and inactivated flu vaccine use egg protein in the production process. Allergists can now test egg-allergic patients for an allergic reaction to the vaccine. If they tolerate the test, they can get the flu shot. So, it’s worth it to find out!
Q. Can I get the flu vaccine if I am pregnant?
YES! And you should as you are at greater risk of complications from this infection. You can receive the inactivated flu shot. If you have an egg allergy, check with your allergist about your options.
Q. Can I get the flu vaccine if I am breastfeeding?
YES! In fact, you can receive either the inactivated flu shot or the live flu nasal spray vaccine. If you are doubly protecting your baby against getting the flu by nursing and by getting vaccinated.
Q. Who can receive the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine?
You can get the nasal spray flu vaccine (Flumist) if you are aged 2 years up to 49 years. But, you should NOT get the nasal spray if you are/have:
—Ages 2 to under 5 and have a history of recurrent wheezing
—Asthma, diabetes, kidney failure, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, or weakened immune systems
—Take aspirin regularly
—Guillain-Barre Syndrome after receiving flu vaccine previously
Q. Can I get Flumist if I am around people with weakened immune systems?
Yes, in most cases. You can safely come in contact with people who take steroids regularly or those with HIV according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Q. How many doses of flu vaccine does my child need?
Either one or two doses, depending on his age and how many flu shots he has had before. If your child is 9 or older, he only needs one dose.