“We had appointments at [insert big-box pharmacy here] today and we walked in and it was a madhouse – I felt like I was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. So we just walked out and I told him [her spouse] lets go to my local drugstore, Sewall's Point Pharmacy instead"
- SPRX Patient
To get the Flu vaccine or not, which one, and where??? It isn't always an easy decision or pleasant experience. There is a plethora of content available at your fingertips that can overwhelm your senses and cause analysis paralysis. Here I answer common questions about Influenza and the Flu vaccine to help you make well-informed decisions.
What is a vaccination experience like at Sewall's Point Pharmacy ? Lets just say if the experience in a big-box pharmacy is like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, getting your vaccine at Sewall's Point Pharmacy & Compounding is As Good As It Gets.
What is the flu & who gets it? Influenza (Flu) is an acute respiratory virus that can affect people of all ages in all parts of the world, although some populations are more at risk. There are 4 types of seasonal influenza viruses, types A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B viruses circulate and cause what we call "seasonal Flu".
Why get the Flu vaccine? I think its the best BOGO deal you can get - its usually covered 100% by insurance (no cost) and you get:
Provides an average of 40-60% reduced risk of getting influenza virus (A & B).
Has been shown to reduce the severity & duration of illness should you get the flu (remember the Mack truck?)
Flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against flu and its potentially serious complications (pneumonia, inflammation of muscles, the brain and heart, kidney and respiratory failure) . The CDC estimates influenza causes 140,000 – 710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 – 52,000 deaths annually between 2010 and 2020.
What are typical Flu symptoms? Flu symptoms are usually sudden in onset and last for 3-7 days (uncomplicated infections). Typical Flu symptoms consist of:
muscle and joint pain
severe malaise (feeling unwell)
fever (>100.4 F) typically lasting 3-4 days
dry cough / sore throat
Other symptoms may be present as well. Symptom onset and severity is often described as being "hit with a Mack truck".
Can the Flu shot give you the "Flu"? No. All injected Flu vaccines have an inactive influenza viral protein so it cannot replicate and cause illness - the symptoms you feel are due to the immune response being activated from the vaccine.
Can the Flu be treated? Yes, with antiviral prescription medication. Treatment initiation is dependent on age, symptom onset, and risk of influenza related complications (like pneumonia or worsening of underlying chronic conditions) . Treatment for influenza cases ideally should start 48hrs from symptom onset and have been shown to lessen the amount of time people are sick with the flu. However, even if given antivirals for the Flu severe complications are still a real risk for elderly, infants, and people with underlying conditions.
Can you have the Flu and Covid-19 at the same time? Yes.
How can you tell the difference between Allergies, the Flu, Colds and Covid-19? Testing for Influenza and Covid-19 is the most accurate way to diagnosis the illnesses. There can be overlap in Allergy, Flu, Cold, and COVID-19 Symptoms - scroll down for a link to great visual that compares them.
What is the difference between high dose and standard dose Flu vaccine?
Standard Doses: appropriate for ages 6months and up, made by various manufacturers
High Dose: only for ages 65 & up - contains 4x the virus amount than standard dose, made by 1 manufacturer
*The CDC and ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immune Practices) do not recommend one approved flu vaccine over another - the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year.
For a great visual comparing Flu, Allergies, Cold, and COVID-19 symptoms check out Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System's Blog post. Click here to see the post. .
1. CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/index.html ; Accessed 14 October 2021
2. WHO: https://www.who.int/health-topics/influenza-seasonal#tab=tab_1 ; Accessed 14 October 2021
3. FDA: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/tamiflu-consumer-questions-and-answers; ; Accessed 14 October 2021
*The statements listed are provided for educational purposes only. They have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information listed is not to be interpreted as a promise, guarantee or claim of therapeutic efficacy or safety. The information contained herein is not intended to replace or substitute for conventional medical care, or encourage its abandonment.*