Early Flu Season is Naughty, Not Nice Says Loyola Expert

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Vomiting, diarrhea and fever are what many are experiencing this holiday season as the seasonal flu grips Chicago.

“Loyola documented several cases of the flu before Thanksgiving and we now have confirmed more than 27 cases of patients with the flu which is early to start and also a high number,” says Jorge Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, medical director of the infection prevention and control program at Loyola University Health System. “If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, put it at the top of your to do list and get it now.”

For the fourth year in a row, Loyola has required that all employees, students, volunteers and even vendors receive the seasonal flu vaccination.

“Some jobs require you to wear a helmet and steel-toed boots, hospital staff need vaccinations to protect themselves and others from infectious diseases,” says Parada, who oversees the Loyola employee campaign. “When people are ill they go to the doctor, and when they are really ill they go to the hospital, and as an academic medical center, Loyola cares for the sickest of the sick. Our staff needs self-protection from patients with the flu and we also need to not transmit the flu to vulnerable patients. Requirement of the flu vaccination is a win-win situation.”

Flu Folklore Fallacies
Parada has heard every excuse associated with the flu vaccination and offers his expertise.

“I got the flu already so I don’t need a flu shot.”
“Typically there are three strains of flu that circulate during the flu season and the flu vaccine protects against all three. So, even if you’ve had the flu, get your flu shot so you do not get the flu a couple of more times,” says Parada.

“It’s too late; the flu is already here.”
“The flu season usually peaks in early February and lasts well into April , so it is not too late to get a flu shot,” says Parada.

“I got a flu shot last year.”
“Just like everyone can catch the flu ever season, everyone needs to get a flu shot every year. The immunization lasts for one season and also the formula changes. This year’s flu vaccine is different than that of last year, for example,” says Parada.

“The flu shot makes you sick.”
“It takes about two weeks to build immunity after receiving the flu shot, so if you catch the flu around the time of your flu shot it wasn’t because the vaccine gave it to you. Rather it was because you caught the flu before the vaccine had time to kick in and proteect you,” says Parada. “I have been an infectious disease specialist for more than 25 years and I have never seen evidence of anyone catching the flu from the flu shot. ”

Source: Loyola University Health System

 

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