The Doctor Is In: Flu Shots

Healthworks is sponsored by Henry Ford Health System

Join Deena Centofanti and our experts from Henry Ford Health System as they discuss the new guidelines for kids and flu shots. They'll also discuss the various vaccine options and the best time to get your shots.

Join the Chat Room here.

Katherine Reyes, M.D.

MPH, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control, Henry Ford Health System,and Henry Ford Hospital infectious diseases physician

Earlexia Norwood, M.D.
Service chief of Family Medicine, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Currently, flu activity is low in the United States, but outbreaks can occur as early as October and the season runs through March.
The best protection against the flu is vaccination.

New for the 2015-2016 flu season are guidelines that call for children 6 months to 8 years old to receive two doses of the vaccine 4 weeks apart if not vaccinated before July 2015.
And for maximum protection, the elderly should be vaccinated in October or November.

There are are an increased number of vaccine options.
Talk to a doctor or nurse about the differences and effectiveness.
This year's vaccine was designed to prevent a repeat of last year, when a missing strain in the vaccine sickened many people.
Henry Ford Health System offers the quadrivelant vaccine that protects against four influenza strains.
It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for protection to take hold.

The flu and cold have similar symptoms but are caused by different viruses. The flu is worse than a cold. Typical flu symptoms include fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough. Typical cold symptoms are a running or stuffy nose.

Antiviral medications can be prescribed by your physicians to treat the flu. Because a cold is caused by viral illness, antibiotics cannot treat it. Antibiotics are needed to treat infections and illnesses caused by bacteria.

If sick with the flu:

Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep them from getting infected.
Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaner.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the tissue in the trash.
Drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent dehydration.

The flu shot is covered by most insurance companies. Henry Ford offers flu vaccination with or without an appointment and at various walk-in clinic locations.