Sports & Health
What You Should Know For the 2015-2016 Flu Season
Submitted by Marianne M. Bennett
Clinical Services Manager

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first step to prevent this serious disease. There are many different flu viruses, but the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the top three or four viruses that research suggests will cause the most illness each year. This year, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Department of Health and Human Services will be offering the flu vaccine that protects against four different strains of the virus.

Some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting their healthcare provider. These include:

  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.
  • People who have previously developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
  • Children younger than 6 months of age.

People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.

Why Get a Flu Shot This Season?

  • The flu vaccine not only protects you, it protects everyone around you. Flu viruses are unpredictable and put everyone at risk. You may be around someone who’s at high risk from the flu. Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get the flu, and they frequently spread the virus to others.
  • The flu shot is easy to get. All Community members, residents and their families, tribal government employees and their families, and Enterprise employees and their families are eligible for a flu shot. Health Services has scheduled flu shot clinics for multiple dates and times this fall, beginning with the Safety Fair in October. Flu clinics will be held in various locations throughout the Community through November 12. You may also schedule an appointment for a flu vaccine by calling Belinda Nelson at (480) 362-5652.
  • You only need a flu vaccine once a year. The flu season lasts from late October to March. A person’s protection from a flu shot declines over time, and a yearly flu shot is needed for optimal protection.

In addition to the vaccine, you can take everyday steps to prevent the flu. Wash your hands frequently and avoid close contact with individuals who have signs and symptoms of the flu. If you are sick, stay home to prevent the spread of illness.

When to Get Vaccinated
It is recommended that you receive the flu vaccine soon after it becomes available, preferably during October. It takes two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection from the flu.

Which Flu Vaccine Should You Get?
This year we have three different types of vaccine available. The flu mist is recommended by the CDC for anyone age 3 to 49 who does not have asthma. It is a simple nose spray. The traditional injectable vaccine is available for people age 6 months and older. For those over 65, a high-dose flu vaccine is available. The high dose has been shown to be more effective for people over 65.

If you have questions about the flu or the vaccine, please talk to your medical provider or contact the Community Health Nurse Program at (480) 362-6619.

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