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10-12-10

Flu shots

Influenza is more than just an inconvenience.  Flu can be a significant health threat for individuals of all ages, especially seniors and children who have other medical conditions.

Influenza sends more than 200,000 Americans to the hospital each year and it is among the leading causes of death for senior citizens.  But getting a flu vaccination can help prevent it.  Dr. Janak Koirala, associate professor of infectious diseases at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains this year’s vaccine.

SOUND BITE:    “. . .  this year the CDC has expanded the recommendation for flu vaccine for everyone above six months of age. . . .  (3:19) The influenza vaccine this year has a combination of both the original flu strain as well as the pandemic strain, so called swine flu, from last year.  So there is only one shot required this year.”

Dr. Koirala says flu vaccinations definitely reduce the severity of the symptoms and decreases the spread of the disease.  He says the shot is safe and it does not cause influenza.

TR 1 (4:47 – 5:08)  “Generally the side effect of the flu shot is just limited to a little pain in the arm and maybe a little fever-kind of feeling as a result of reaction to the shot.  But in general most people do well and do not have any kind of illness resulting from the flu shot.” 

Dr. Koirala says it is especially important for individuals who have chronic medical conditions such as lung disease or heart problems to be vaccinated.  For information about getting a flu vaccination, contact your primary care physician, local public health department or pharmacy. 

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.