Our doctor recommends the following vaccination schedule
- Tetanus (TdaP) booster every ten years
- Pneumovax (pneumonia) once at age 65, earlier in diabetics or asthmatics
- Zostavax (shingles vaccine) once from age 50.
- Gardasil vaccination is recommended for females from age 9-26. It prevents infection with HPV (human papilloma virus), the virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer. The vaccination is also newly FDA approved to prevent venereal warts in men and is now recommended for boys/men.
See Preventative Medicine Guidelines for additional recommendations and information from our doctors.
Everybody over 6 months of age, including pregnant women, is advised to have a flu shot. Most insurance providers will pay for the vaccine, but please check with yours to make sure it is covered.
Many people are concerned about side effects. Flu shots are very safe and serious side effects are extremely rare. You cannot get the flu from a flu shot because it does not contain the live virus.
How to avoid getting the flu
Hand sanitizers and hand washing are the best means of killing the virus. Always keep your hands below your chin during the day in order to not infect yourself from secretions on surfaces. Teach children to do the same. Because the virus is primarily spread through the air, do not sneeze into your hand, but rather sneeze into the upper arm of your sleeve.
How is the flu diagnosed?
Initially when influenza is first introduced to a community, we test using a nasal swab to confirm the clinical suspicion. Once the flu is established, we treat clinically if the patient has influenza symptoms.
Symptoms of influenza include fever (usually > 101), severe aching and headache, dry raspy cough. Some patients may feel nauseous, but gastrointestinal symptoms are NOT the mainstay of influenza.
How is influenza treated?
Antiviral medications such as Tamiflu, Relenza, rimantadine, and amantadine can shorten the course of the illness by a few days, but must be started within the first two days of symptoms in order to be effective.
Visit WebMD’s website for more information: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/tc/influenza-medications
Whooping cough (Pertussis)
In the last several years, there has been an increase in whooping cough in the United States, including Washtenaw County. Thus the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine has been added to tetanus vaccinations. Currently the vaccine is called “TDaP” indicating that it contains tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. It is given every ten years.
Pertussis is usually diagnosed by a persistent cough after a person has had a simple respiratory infection. The cough can go on for weeks and causes a whooping sound in some people. It can be diagnosed by a blood test.