Know the Facts: How and Where to Get a Safe Flu Shot in San Diego - Children's Physicians Medical Group
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Know the Facts: How and Where to Get a Safe Flu Shot in San Diego

Not every flu shot is the same. Different shots contain different inactive strains of the influenza virus, and some shots use different manufacturing processes. Companies that produce the vaccines vary their production methods in order to adapt them to different segments of the population. Some vaccines are appropriate for younger people, while others are formulated to provide additional protection to the elderly. There are also vaccines that accommodate people with certain allergies that might otherwise make a flu vaccine dangerous.

Here, we will discuss why you should get a flu shot. Then, we will explain how you can provide information to your healthcare provider to help them determine which vaccine is best for you and your child. Finally, we can help you with where to get flu shot San Diego.

 Why Do I Need a Flu Shot?

If you have never received a flu shot San Diego before, now is the best time to get vaccinated. Here are some facts you should know:

  • Between 5 and 20 percent of the population in the U.S. gets the flu every year; that’s 15 to 62 million people.
  • Up to 200,000 people end up hospitalized with flu-related complications.
  • Up to 49,000 people die each year from influenza.

If you received a flu shot San Diego last year or in a prior year, keep in mind that you still need to get a flu shot for the 2013-2014 season to be adequately protected. Manufacturers reformulate the flu shot every year based on which particular strains seem to be the most popular among the infected population. The influenza virus changes very quickly, and new strains emerge all the time. That is why a yearly flu shot is the best protection against becoming infected.

Many people avoid a San Diego flu shot because they are concerned with potential side effects. As we have discussed previously, side effects from the flu shot are usually mild and dissipate within a day or two of getting vaccinated. Typically, people experience a low-grade fever, itching or pain at the injection site, sleepiness, and mild headaches. These symptoms are not serious. The risk of developing a severe side effect to a flu shot is minimal when compared with the statistics above. Most commonly, people worry about developing a condition known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). However, the odds of developing GBS are about 1 in 1 to 2 million. That’s about 3,000 to 6,000 new cases each year in the U.S., compared to the 200,000 who end up in the hospital with influenza complications.

 Which Flu Shot is Right For My Child and For Me?

Different formulas are available depending on a number of factors. Here is the information you should provide to your doctor to determine which of the available flu shots San Diego are right for you:

1)     Age.

  • Some shots are appropriate for very young children, such as those ages 6 months or older.
  • Other shots are best for people over the age of 18.
  • Certain high-dose shots are approved to provide extra protection to individuals older than 65 years.

2)     Allergies.

  • Many standard dose shots use influenza virus that was grown in chicken eggs. If you or your child is allergic to eggs, you should notify your doctor before receiving a flu shot.
  • Egg-free shots are available, though they may not be approved for children under a certain age. Discuss other options with your doctor before getting vaccinated.

3)     Problems with Needles.

  • Nasal spray versions of the flu vaccine are available for people between the ages of 2 and 49 years.
  • You must be considered healthy, with no underlying medical conditions that might cause complications if you were to get influenza.

For the 2013-2014 seasons, you can get two different types of flu shot:

  • Trivalent: this shot protects you against two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus.
  • Quadrivalent: this shot protects you against two of each type of influenza virus.

The CDC does not make any recommendations about trivalent versus quadrivalent. However, it notes that vaccines formulated for particular strains can be effective in warding off different but related strains. You could still get other types of influenza, but your symptoms may be reduced and not last as long.

 Where can I get a San Diego Flu Shot?

A number of doctors who belong to the Children’s Physicians Medical Group offer flu shots in the San Diego area. We recommend going to our Find a Doctor page to locate a doctor’s office near you. You can input your address and specify that you want a doctor within a certain mileage from your location, and find doctors who specialize in a number of categories. You can even search for doctors who speak different languages if you are assisting someone who does not speak English. Please also check our Health Plans page to determine whether your insurance plan will be accepted at a CPMG office.

After you find a doctor near you, be sure to call first and 3verify the availability of the flu shot at that particular doctor’s office. You can also ask which types of flu shot the doctor has on-hand and ask any questions about concerns you have with getting yourself or your child immunized. All doctors within the CPMG network are dedicated to ensuring the health of you and your child. We want to reduce the number of cases of influenza in San Diego, one flu shot at a time. Our goal is to lower the number of children who end up in the hospital with flu-related complications, and to help children suffer fewer interruptions in their schooling due to illness.

Have you or your child received a flu vaccine this season? Why or why not? Share your thoughts on vaccinations with us in the comments.