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P reven tion
Getting Vaccinated Is Best Way to
Avoid the Flu
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control now recommends the vaccination for
nearly everyone 6 months or older at the beginning of each flu season.
The annual flu vaccine is particularly
important for those who are most likely
to develop serious and potentially fatal
complications from the flu, including anyone
65 or older; people with medical conditions,
such as asthma, diabetes and chronic lung
disease; pregnant women; and those who live
with or provide care for these individuals.
For people outside the high-risk groups, the
flu vaccine is recommended for two reasons,
notes Zachary Rubin, MD, UCLA infectious
disease specialist. “You’re not only protecting
yourself, but you’re also making it less likely
that you will transmit influenza to those
high-risk people in the community,”
Dr. Rubin says many people fail to protect
themselves by getting the shot. “Some people
just forget. Others have misconceptions
about the vaccine; they think they’re going
to get influenza from it, which is incorrect.
The flu shot does not contain a live virus.
Because of the time of year that it’s given,
some people will catch a cold shortly after
getting the shot and assume they got it from
the vaccine, even though it’s unrelated,”
Dr. Rubin says.
In addition to the shot, the vaccine can be
delivered as a nasal spray. Because the nasal
spray contains a live, though weakened,
influenza virus, it can produce minor flu
symptoms and is not recommended for
individuals with asthma. Research shows
that for children, the nasal spray is more
effective than the shot.
Flu season can start as early as October
and run as late as May, with the peak
months typically in December, January and
February. Dr. Rubin recommends getting
the vaccine prior to the start of the season,
keeping in mind that it takes about two
weeks after the vaccination for the
antibodies to develop.
No, the Flu Vaccine CANNOT Give You the Flu
Despite some mistrust of vaccines by people, there is no evidence to suggest that vaccines
cause autism or other developmental disorders in children. Likewise, the flu vaccine does
not cause the flu. However, mild reactions such as soreness, headaches and fever are
common side effects of the flu vaccine.
UCLA Health’s Community Flu Shot Clinics will provide
vaccinations for adults and children 5 years or older.
The shots are $25 or billed to insurance, if covered.
Vaccinations are free to eligible patients who enroll
in UCLA Health 50-Plus by October 12. For more
information, call (800) 516-5323 or visit uclahealth.org.
Viral particles are spread every time an infected
person sneezes. The flu virus can
travel about three feet.
hospital 226 , 000
hospitalizations due to influenza in the U.S. each year
When to Get
Vaccinated Get vaccinated as soon as
the flu vaccine becomes
available. Flu seasons
are unpredictable and can begin as early as
October. Early immunization is the most
effective — it takes about two weeks after
vaccination for antibodies to develop in the
body and provide protection. But it’s not
too late to get the vaccine in December,
January or beyond.
Brentwood Friday, October 18 / 1–4 pm
UCLA Porter Ranch Medical Group
Primary Care & Specialties
19950 Rinaldi Street, Suite 300
Saturday, October 19 / 1–4 pm
Saturday, October 26 / 1–4 pm
UCLA Brentwood Medical Group
11980 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 102
Saturday, October 19 / 10 am–1 pm
Tuesday, October 22 / 5–8 pm
UCLA Santa Monica Bay Physicians
2424 Wilshire Blvd.
Marina del Rey
Sunday, October 20 / 10 am–4 pm
Wednesday, October 23 / 5–8 pm
UCLA Playa Marina Urgent Care
4560 Admiralty Way, Suite 100
Vital Signs Fall 2013 Vol. 60