The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation for the 2016-2017 season is for everyone 6 months and older to get the flu shot unless it is contraindicated. Note: The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine) should NOT be used during the 2016-2017 season. Older adults, very young children, pregnant women, and those with chronic medical conditions are at particular risk for getting the flu and/or complications from the flu. For those of us with RA (rheumatoid arthritis), we are included in the chronic medical condition category because we are likely on medications that suppress our immune system. Drugs like biologics, many DMARDS (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic disease agents), and steroids. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions concerning your medications and how they may effect your immunity. Another reason I will get a flu shot is because I don’t want to interrupt my medication regime for any reason. Because I am on immunosuppressants, if I get really sick I may need to hold off taking these medications if my doctor thinks the drug may be suppressing my immune system at a time I need it to fight a potential infection. What my doctor and I have decided is appropriate for me just may not be appropriate for anyone else. We are all unique with unique characteristics and sensitivities, therefore any decision concerning one’s personal healthcare really needs to be made on a personal basis by a personal doctor. If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor.
I’d like to mention contraindications and precautions. The flu vaccine should NOT be given to anyone that has had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. Individuals experiencing a moderate or severe illness should wait until they feel better. A person with a history of Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of previous influenza vaccination need to take precaution and discuss this with their doctor. And last, a person who has experienced hives with exposure to eggs should take extra safety precautions and need to see their physician about this. We will talk about what influenza is next, so come back real soon!*Cathy*