Thursday, September 18, 2014

Flu update 9/18/14

Weekly updates on flu activity in Maine will resume in October. Maine CDC reminds everyone to take everyday preventive measures against the flu:
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or shoulder
  • Stay home when you feel sick
  • Get vaccinated

Conference Call

Maine CDC is hosting a "Start of the 2014-15 Influenza Season" conference call from 2-3 p.m. September 24

The intent of this call is to provide updates for the season, outline resources available, and remind facilities what the requirements are for the influenza season. 

This call is particularly relevant for: Infection practitioners, providers, laboratorians, employee health, emergency preparedness, hospital administration, and long term care facilities. Talking points will be distributed after the call, as well as questions and information highlighted on the call. 

The call-in number will be 877-455-0244, code 668-182-0529

Vaccine recommendations

US CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the top three or four flu viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Medical providers should be vaccinated and begin vaccinating patients soon after flu vaccine becomes available, ideally by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.

Starting this season, US CDC recommends use of the nasal spray vaccine in healthy children ages 2 to 8 when it is immediately available and if the child has no contraindications or precautions to that vaccine. Recent studies suggest that the nasal spray flu vaccine may work better than the flu shot in younger children. However, if the nasal spray vaccine is not immediately available and the flu shot is, children age 2 to 8 years should get the flu shot. Don't delay vaccination to find the nasal spray flu vaccine.

Vaccine is already available in some locations. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to develop full immunity. 

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