FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (02-02-2016)
Have You Had Your Flu Shot?
HUNTINGTON, West Virginia. CDC is reporting an increase in influenza cases with some severe illness in high risk individuals, but also in young and middle aged adults. High risk individuals include those over 65 years of age, less than 2 years old, people with chronic lung disease, people with other chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women. A more complete list follows. Influenza is capable of causing severe illness resulting in hospitalization and even death in not only high risk cases, but in otherwise healthy people, too.
“It is not too late for the best influenza protection, a flu shot”- Michael Kilkenny, MD, MS – Physician Director- Cabell-Huntington Health Department
FREE flu shots are offered everyday at the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, 703 7th Avenue, Huntington. Clinic hours: Mondays 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and Tuesday – Friday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, no appointment is necessary.
When influenza strikes, early use of antiviral medication can reduce the severity and duration of the illness. Antiviral medication for flu is most effective if given within 48 hours of onset, but can help some cases even when started later. Some influenza antivirals can be used to reduce flu spread in a household when a family member gets sick or to prevent flu for a family member who can’t take a flu shot.
CDC gives this guidance:
- Clinicians should encourage all patients who have not yet received an influenza vaccine this season to be vaccinated against influenza. This recommendation is for patients 6 months of age and older. There are several influenza vaccine options for the 2015-2016 influenza season (see http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6430a3.htm ), and all available vaccine formulations this season contain A(H3N2), A(H1N1)pdm09, and B virus strains. CDC does not recommend one influenza vaccine formulation over another.
- Clinicians should encourage all persons with influenza-like illness who are at high risk for influenza complications (see list below) to seek care promptly to determine if treatment with influenza antiviral medications is warranted.
- Decisions about starting antiviral treatment should not wait for laboratory confirmation of influenza. Clinicians using RIDTs to inform treatment decisions should use caution in interpreting negative RIDT results. These tests, defined here as rapid antigen detection tests using immunoassays or immunofluorescence assays, have a high potential for false negative results. Antiviral treatment should not be withheld from patients with suspected influenza, even if they test negative by RIDT; initiation of empiric antiviral therapy, if warranted, should not be delayed.
- CDC guidelines for influenza antiviral use during 2015-16 season are the same as during prior seasons (see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/antivirals/summary-clinicians.htm ).
- When indicated, antiviral treatment should be started as soon as possible after illness onset, ideally within 48 hours of symptom onset. Clinical benefit is greatest when antiviral treatment is administered early. However, antiviral treatment might still be beneficial in patients with severe, complicated, or progressive illness, and in hospitalized patients and in some outpatients when started after 48 hours of illness onset, as indicated by clinical and observational studies.
- Treatment with an appropriate neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral drugs (oral oseltamivir, inhaled zanamivir, or intravenous peramivir) is recommended as early as possible for any patient with confirmed or suspected influenza who
- is hospitalized;
- has severe, complicated, or progressive illness; or
- is at higher risk for influenza complications. This list includes:
o children aged younger than 2 years;
o adults aged 65 years and older;
o persons with chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension alone), renal, hepatic, hematological (including sickle cell disease), metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus), or neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy [seizure disorders], stroke, intellectual disability [mental retardation], moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury);
o persons with immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV infection;
o women who are pregnant or postpartum (within 2 weeks after delivery);
o persons aged younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy;
o American Indians/Alaska Natives;
o persons who are morbidly obese (i.e., body-mass index is equal to or greater than 40); and
o residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.
- Antiviral treatment can also be considered for suspected or confirmed influenza in previously healthy, symptomatic outpatients not at high risk on the basis of clinical judgment, especially if treatment can be initiated within 48 hours of illness onset.
- Clinical judgment, on the basis of the patient’s disease severity and progression, age, underlying medical conditions, likelihood of influenza, and time since onset of symptoms, is important when making antiviral treatment decisions for outpatients.
- While influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza, a history of influenza vaccination does not rule out influenza virus infection in an ill patient with clinical signs and symptoms compatible with influenza. Vaccination status should not impede the initiation of prompt antiviral treatment.
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Contact: Elizabeth A. Adkins, MS
Director of Health & Wellness/PIO
Cabell-Huntington Health Department
Office (304) 523-6483 x 258
Fax (304) 523-6482