The Current Flu Vaccine: What You Should Know

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: Do you really need to get the flu vaccine for your family this season?
Air Date: 2/14/17
Duration: 16:37
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Wendy Sue Swanson, MD
Wendy Sue Swanson Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a board certified pediatrician, mother to two young boys and the author of the Seattle Children's Hospital Seattle Mama Doc Blog, the first pediatrician-authored blog for a major children's hospital.

Dr. Swanson is interested in the intersection of media and medicine and its impact on the physician-patient relationship. Her online presence through her blog and Twitter has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of parents who would have been beyond her reach without social media.

Dr. Swanson works diligently to offer parents relevant, practical, and timely health information in accessible formats and she believes that a growing community of online physicians can empower parents and patients to make informed decisions based on science.

Tackling issues from vaccines to potty training to work life balance, Dr. Swanson provides a voice of reason, not only as a pediatrician but also as a parent, helping parents gain clarity and eliminate fear when making decisions for their children. Her book, Mama Doc Medicine, published by The American Academy of Pediatrics, hit bookshelves in early 2014.

Dr. Swanson is the founder and executive director of Digital Health at Seattle Children's. She is also an executive committee member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media.

She is also on the Board of Advisors for Parents magazine and is on the board for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. She is a weekly medical contributor with NBC affiliate KING 5 News in Seattle and is a practicing pediatrician with The Everett Clinic.

Dr. Swanson is an advocate on the topic of vaccines and was named a CDC Childhood Immunization Champion in 2012. She was named to TIME Magazine's Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.
The Current Flu Vaccine: What You Should Know
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu.

The flu vaccine for 2016/2017 is recommended for every child over six months of age. It’s considered an essential vaccine. If this is your child’s first flu vaccine you have to get it administered in two doses.

The flu vaccine contains three or four dead viruses. Side effects from the vaccine include a sore arm at the vaccination site, redness or a low-grade fever. The vaccine teaches the immune system how the body needs to deal with the flu. 

The recipe changes each year based on global surveillance. The formula is based on what is anticipated to come to North America. The vaccine should last throughout the season. Flu season peaks in January and February but it begins to circulate in autumn.

Babies generally do wonderfully with the flu vaccine. Over 75% of parents are getting flu vaccines for their children annually.

The nasal flu spray is not recommended this year. It was not as effective in the past two to three seasons as it was on children over two years of age. The flu shot last year was over 60% effective.

The flu can have severe effects including lung infections and death. This is why physicians advocate so strongly for vaccination.

Those allergic to eggs needn’t worry about this year’s vaccine. Past production of vaccines has involved eggs in the production. There’s not the same contamination and reaction to the content of the vaccines.

The flu vaccine is 50-60% effective. It’s great for those who are high risk like the elderly, pregnant mothers and children under age five. If you get the vaccine but still get the virus, you may have a milder case of flu.

If you think you’ve been exposed to the flu go to the doctor right away. A nasal swab will determine your diagnosis. If you get sick then stay home.

Listen in as Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson shares the current information on flu vaccines.
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