Shots in, sprays out for 2016 - 2017 flu season

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Shots in, sprays out for 2016 - 2017 flu season
Shots in, sprays out for 2016 - 2017 flu season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending injectable flu vaccines but not nasal spray flu vaccines for the 2016 – 2017 influenza season.

The recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, with which the CDC agrees, were published Thursday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report dated Aug. 26.

Overall, flu vaccines were only 50% effective during the 2015 – 2016 season, according to the agency, but the effectiveness of the nasal spray for the past three flu seasons has been poor, leading the CDC to follow ACIP's recommendation that the nasal spray vaccine not be used.

Sepsis prevention

Flu vaccines are an important part of preventing sepsis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this week. That's because the flu often is followed by a bacterial infection.

Adults aged more than 65 years who have an infection, people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, and those with weakened immune systems — for instance, from tobacco use — are at higher risk of getting sepsis.

The mortality rate from sepsis is between 15% and 30%, and it begins outside of the hospital for almost 80% of people. Learn more here.

Individuals should be vaccinated by the end of October, if possible, the CDC said, although it recommends vaccination as long as flu viruses are circulating.

Two new injectable vaccines are available this year. One, called Fluad, contains an adjuvant, an ingredient designed to help create a stronger immune response in the body; it is approved for people aged 65 or more years. The other new vaccine, Flucelvax, is approved for anyone aged 4 or more years.

Egg allergies

The CDC also has updated its vaccination recommendations for those who have egg allergies.

People with such allergies no longer must be observed for 30 minutes after receiving their vaccines. Those who have experienced only hives after exposure to eggs can receive any licensed flu vaccine that otherwise is appropriate for their age and health status. Those who have more serious egg allergies should receive their vaccines under the supervision of a healthcare provider who can recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.

Those who previously experienced a severe allergic reaction to flu vaccine should not get a flu vaccine again.

Egg allergies affect approximately 0.2% of all adults, according to the CDC.

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