BOCA RATON, Fla. (Ivanhoe newswire) — Like football games and warm coats, the flu shot is part of the Fall ritual for millions of Americans. But there are people who actually may be allergic to them.
It takes less than 10 seconds … and then it’s over, unless that is; you’re someone who is allergic to flu shots.
Larry Altshuler, MD, director of oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, “There are some people, of course, that are allergic to the egg in the vaccine, that are allergic to other things, maybe even the preservative.”
And that’s just what happened to Ashley Wilson. Working in a hospital setting, she knew it was vital to protect herself against the flu.
She said, “I got one and promptly got sick in the way of hives, swelling and itching and the closing of the airways. That sort of thing.”
Ashley is one of the rare people allergic to eggs.
Doctor Altshuler said, “There is another alternative for that … it’s called a block vaccine. It’s a little more expensive, it’s $130 compared to your ten dollar flu vaccine, but it’s actually made of insect parts.”
Which, for Ashley, was a good alternative.
Ashley told Ivanhoe, “So, it’s actually insect based so that was definitely better than facing having to wear a mask for three months during flu season.”
Doctors warn people not to use the small chance of a reaction as an excuse to avoid getting a flu shot.
Doctors Altshuler explains, “The real reason for the flu vaccine is to reduce the risk of death, and it does that. And it can decrease the risk of hospitalization.”
The flu shot is not a guarantee you’ll avoid the flu, but for a lot of people, it literally can be a life saver.
Doctor Altshuler says if you miss getting your shot in the fall, don’t wait until next year. Take it during the winter months because the flu season hits hardest in March.
Contributors to this news report include: Dee Morales, Field Producer; Brogan Morris, Assistant Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; and Tony Dastoli, Editor.
FLU SHOT ALLERGIES
BACKGROUND: Around 36,000 people in the United States die each year from the flu. Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection that affects your respiratory system, meaning your nose, throat and lungs. Flu is not the same thing as the stomach flu. The stomach flu virus causes diarrhea and vomiting. Influenza can usually resolve on its’ own, and for most people it does, but occasionally, it can be deadly. Flu complications can be at higher risk for the following:
- Young children under 5, and more so for those under 2 years
- Adults over 65
- Nursing home residents, and residents of other long-term care facilities
- Pregnant women
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes
- People who are very obese, generally meaning someone with a body mass index of 40 or higher
Common flu symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees F, aching muscles, chills, sweats, headache, dry and persistent cough, fatigue and weakness, nasal congestion and sore throat. If you are on the at-risk list and have these symptoms you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
THE FLU SHOT: Research has shown getting your annual vaccination reduces the risk of getting the flu by about 50 to 60 percent. How well the flu shot works changes from season to season and can change depending on who is receiving the vaccine. A person’s age and health will influence the effectiveness of the vaccine. Another factor influencing the effectiveness of the vaccine is how well the vaccine matches up with the circulating virus spreading throughout the community. If the vaccine and virus do not match up, the flu shot could be completely ineffective. However, even if it is a perfect match, the results will still widely vary from person to person. Overall, researchers have come to the conclusion that the flu shot benefits the general public health.
BENEFITS: The flu vaccination can keep you from getting the flu, while protecting others as well. It can also help people who are at a higher risk for more serious symptoms. A study showed that from the 2010-2012 flu seasons, the flu shot reduced flu-related hospitalizations in children by 74 percent. Another study showed during the 2011-2012 flu season, the vaccination reduced adult flu-related hospital visits by 71 percent and 77 percent for adults 50 and older. The vaccination can also protect women during pregnancy and their babies for up to six months after birth. A recent study showed the shot was 92 percent effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for the flu when given to pregnant women.
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