What's the Right Flu Shot for You?

flu-shot

It’s that time of year again. Your co-worker doesn’t look so good. He’s sporting a runny nose, and in between sneezing fits he turns and says, “Does it feel really hot in the office to you?”

Yes, that sounds very much like the beginning of Flu Season. Fortunately in our office and in the metro area, flu season hasn’t hit too hard and now is definitely the right time to get vaccinated against the influenza virus. When you go to your local pharmacy these days, they are always quick to ask you:

“Would you also like a flu shot?”

Dr. Mitchell’s recommendation is to ask:

“Which one?”

You might be thinking, “Aren’t all flu shots the same?”

The answer is, “No.”

Medical technology gets better and adapts to the needs of the patient. Today there are 6 different type of flu shots, and each one has special characteristics which may be better for you or your loved one.

Let’s examine which ones are available:

  • THE “REGULAR” FLU SHOT is usually the standard trivalent shot to protect against the 3 strains of influenza. It has a long history of safety and efficacy and can be used for patient’s ages 6 months and up. Here at Mitchell Medical Group, we offer the preservative-free version of this flu shot, because many patients today are wary of preservatives used in vaccines.
  • THE QUADRIVALENT SHOT A new shot this year, it covers a 4th strain of virus. But is better? We will see. Because it’s new, the verdict is not in. Here at Mitchell Medical Group, we like to wait a year or two before giving a new type of injection.
  • THE FLUMIST NASAL SPRAY is a great option for children. No needle, no shot — who doesn’t like that option? However, it is not for every child. Those with asthma or weakened immune systems shouldn’t receive the vaccine because it is a live virus vaccine. And pregnant women should also avoid this spray, as it can harm the fetus.
  • FLUZONE HIGH DOSE For a quicker response and protection against the flu, this vaccine may be a good choice for older patients.
  • FLUZONE INTRADERMAL VACCINE A new type of vaccine, this is given less deep in the skin than the usual flu shot (but even so, I personally think this shot hurts more).
  • FLUBLOK An egg-citing new option is available for the first time and is made without eggs, which makes this a great alternative for patients who have skipped the flu shot in the past because it was made from chick embryo fibroblasts. At this time it is licensed only for adults 18 to 49.

Today the patient has to be an educated consumer. We are here to help you stay informed. So…next time your pharmacist or doctor asks you:

Would like a flu shot?

Make sure to ask: “What are my choices?”

Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island

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