Flu Shot – Are you protected?

A simple vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu. It may sound like a minor illness, but it can cause big problems for some people. It can even be deadly.

Learn the facts about the vaccine so you and your family can stay flu-free.

When Should I Get It?

Peak flu season can start as early as October and run through May. The best time to get a flu shot is as soon as it’s available, usually in September or October. It takes about 2 weeks for the vaccine to take effect. You can still get a shot in December or later, but the earlier you get it, the higher your odds of staying well.

What Types of Vaccine Can I Get?

  • The traditional flu shot is an injection into your arm muscle. It’s made from pieces of inactive flu viruses.
  • An egg-free flu shot, unlike other types, isn’t grown inside eggs. It’s an option for people over age 18 who have severe egg allergies.
  • The high-dose flu shot is for people ages 65 and older. They may need a stronger dose to get the same protection.
  • An intradermal flu shot uses a tiny needle that only goes skin deep. It’s for people ages 18 to 64.
  • The nasal spray flu vaccine (FluMist) doesn’t use a needle. It’s made from live but weakened flu viruses. Another name for it is LAIV (live attenuated influenza vaccine). It’s for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who aren’t pregnant, who are not allergic to the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients, and who don’t have weak immune systems. It should not be used for the 2016-2017 flu season. Check with your doctor to make sure it’s right for you.

Some vaccines protect against more than one flu virus strain. Trivalent vaccines work against three strains; quadrivalent vaccines fight four types of flu. The traditional flu shot comes in both forms. High-dose only comes in the trivalent form.

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Ear infection?

What are the symptoms of an Ear Infection?

Your child may have many symptoms during an ear infection. Talk with your pediatrician about the best way to treat your child’s symptoms.

  • Pain. The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain. Older children can tell you that their ears hurt. Younger children may only seem irritable and cry. You may notice this more during feedings because sucking and swallowing may cause painful pressure changes in the middle ear.
  • Loss of appetite. Your child may have less of an appetite because of the ear pain.
  • Trouble sleeping. Your child may have trouble sleeping because of the ear pain.
  • Fever. Your child may have a temperature ranging from 100°F (normal) to 104°F.
  • Ear drainage. You might notice yellow or white fluid, possibly blood-tinged, draining from your child’s ear. The fluid may have a foul odor and will look different from normal earwax (which is orange-yellow or reddish-brown). Pain and pressure often decrease after this drainage begins, but this doesn’t always mean that the infection is going away. If this happens it’s not an emergency, but your child will need to see your pediatrician.
  • Trouble hearing. During and after an ear infection, your child may have trouble hearing for several weeks. This occurs because the fluid behind the eardrum gets in the way of sound transmission. This is usually temporary and clears up after the fluid from the middle ear drains away.

Important: Your doctor cannot diagnose an ear infection over the phone; your child’s eardrum must be examined by your doctor to confirm fluid buildup and signs of inflammation.

Other causes of ear pain

There are other reasons why your child’s ears may hurt besides an ear infection. The following can cause ear pain:

  • An infection of the skin of the ear canal, often called “swimmer’s ear”
  • Reduced pressure in the middle ear from colds or allergies
  • A sore throat
  • Teething or sore gums
  • Inflammation of the eardrum alone during a cold (without fluid buildup)
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