Healthy Living

New flu shot has increased protection; patch alternative for needle-shy

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's time to get a flu shot, and now for the first time in decades, you're going to have more choices than ever before.

Three strain? Four strain? Higher dose? Which one is right for you?

No more excuses: If you're allergic to eggs, there's a shot for you. If you hate needles, there's actually two choices for you. And flu shots this season are offering more protection than ever before.

Before you roll up your sleeve to get a flu shot, ask your doctor to run through all your options.

With one official case so far, the flu season is getting an early start in Los Angeles County.

Dr. Anitha Mitchell of the Brotman Medical Center in Inglewood says the early start means many more cases are circulating.

"I think there are going to be a lot of cases, and I think that makes it really important that we do what we can to try and get people immunized," said Mitchell.

And this year, instead of just offering the standard vaccine that protects against two influenza A strains and one B strain, vaccine makers are offering a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against four strains.

"The added strain is a B strain, a less serious one, and probably should be given to children," said Mitchell.

The quadrivalent injection is recommended for those from ages 2 to 49, and this year the nasal spray called FluMist will also contain four strains because its commonly used to immunize young children.

There's something new for the elderly as well: a higher-dose vaccine designed to give seniors more protection against dangerous complications.

"If the elderly cannot get the higher dose, the real message is that you should get the one that's available to you," said Mitchell.

And if you're allergic to eggs, you can still get a shot. ask your doctor or pharmacist about the egg-free formulation called Flu Block.

Also, if you're afraid of needles, the flu shot is available in an intradermal patch.

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health, flu, health care, healthy living, denise dador
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