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It’s FLU SHOT season, y’all!

The CDC recommends getting vaccinated in early fall because it takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies against the flu to develop in the body, and you want to be ready when flu arrives. But there may be some caveats…flu immunity can wane over the months, particularly in those with immune dysfunction and the elderly. And young patients under 8 years old who require 2 flu shots 28 days apart should actually start as early as possible. Watch the video to learn more about the optimal timing of flu vaccination.

How about them eggz?

The old-skool influenza vaccine is made by culturing virus in chicken eggs. The recommendation for those with egg allergies remain the same as last year (after studies showing them safe for egg-allergic patients):

  • If you break out into hives after egg exposure, and that is your only symptom, you may receive ANY licensed flu vaccine.
  • If you have hives + other symptoms (including severe anaphylaxis) after egg exposure, you may receive ANY licensed flu vaccine. The vaccine should be given in an outpatient or inpatient medical setting by practitioners trained to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.
  • If you’ve previously had a severe reaction to flu vaccine, regardless of which component was the cause, you shouldn’t receive flu vaccine in the future.

Which makes it really interesting that UPMC is only offering egg-free formulations of the vaccination (for those 4 years old and older for whom these formulations are approved). Read about why they are electing to do that here…spoiler alert: it doesn’t have to do with allergies.

You can check out the strains covered, 2018-2019 flu activity, and vaccine type recommendations on the CDC’s page here.

Southwest Airlines Passengers Possibly Exposed to Measles

Passengers on 4 separate Southwest flights were possibly exposed to measles a couple weeks ago. According to this article, a passenger from North Texas, who was previously diagnosed with measles, traveled on Aug. 21 and 22. The flight then went on to Houston, Dallas, and Harligen. This person took 4 separate flights in 2 days.

Passengers on these flights received letters telling them to watch for symptoms of measles until Sept. 11.

Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. It’s followed by a rash that spreads over the body. Measles virus is highly contagious virus and spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing.

On Sept. 5, a number of passengers fell ill on a Emirates Airlines plane that landed at JFK International Airport. The 520 passengers were immediately quarantined, and over 100 were evaluated with complaints of coughs, headaches, fevers, and sore throats. This is still being investigated.

Where is our community immunity??

Over 100 cases of measles have now been confirmed across 21 states. The majority of those affected had not been vaccinated.

The CDC believes that measles comes in from countries where Americans frequently travel, such as England, France, Germany, India, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Unvaccinated infants are especially vulnerable to complications of measles, and are BEST PROTECTED by herd or “community” immunity. Over 450 children die each day worldwide due to measles.

Community immunity is only achieved when at least 95% of the total population of a country gets the recommended 2 doses of vaccine.

What’s HAPPENING?

Anti-vax healthcare professionals, Facebook pages filled with misinformation, parents refusing vaccines for their newborns, and the residual effects of the fraudulent Wakefield BMJ paper (since retracted) all play a role. It’s time to raise awareness about the importance of these SAFE and EFFECTIVE vaccines that have been tested for years. These are diseases that we should not be seeing anymore, period.

Me, Tom, Logan, my family, and their families will be receiving our flu vaccine this year. You should too. Check out the original video here on Facebook, and PLEASE share this with your loved ones. This is your call to action.

We’re also a podcast, so if you prefer to listen rather than watch, here’s the episode on iTunes and SoundCloud! Please leave a review on iTunes, it helps A LOT!