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The Rollin' RN's

It’s Time For Your Flu Shot!!

It’s that time of year when the influenza virus (flu) is starting to make it’s way through the community. Getting a flu shot may prevent you from being one of those affected by this nasty virus or at least make it less severe. People with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) should really consider this shot because let’s face it, who wants to deal with diarrhea when we are sitting in a chair, unable to feel when we have to go and risk derailing our bowel program. Some of us with higher injury levels have a hard time coughing the junk out of our lungs, which can lead to complications like bronchitis and life threatening pneumonia. Vomiting is also a challenge with a higher injury level. If you’ve ever been through that scenario you know what we’re talking about. The flu is most prevalent between the months of October and May. It is caused by the influenza virus and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing and close contact.

The flu can last several days and symptoms can include:

  • Fever/chills

  • Sore throat

  • Muscle aches

  • Fatigue

  • Cough

  • Headache

  • Stuffy, runny nose

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)

A dose of flu vaccine is recommended every flu season. There are actually two kinds of vaccines: One is given as a shot (an injection) and one is given as a nasal spray. The shot contains dead influenza viruses. The nasal spray is made with live viruses that have been weakened. Neither vaccine causes flu illness (although the nasal spray can result in congestion and runny nose). The strains of influenza virus within the vaccines are chosen each year based on what scientists predict will be the circulating viruses for the flu season. Both types of vaccine cause the body's immune system to create antibodies that will ward off influenza virus if it invades your body. It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after vaccination, and protection lasts through the flu season.

Side Effects and Risks for Adult Flu Vaccines Like all medications, vaccines can have side effects. But the risk of harm or death from the influenza vaccine is rare. The flu shot and nasal spray can cause different types of side effects. Flu shot side effects may include:

  • Low fever

  • Muscle aches

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given

The nasal spray flu vaccine for adults may cause:

  • Cough

  • Headache, muscle aches

  • Runny nose, nasal congestion

  • Sore throat

If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1 or 2 days. For more information regarding the Flu Shot Vaccine, click here. For more information regarding the Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine, click here. Flu Prevention Getting a flu shot every year is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others. Other preventive measures include:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people

  • Stay home if you’re sick, especially if you have a fever

  • Cover your cough to protect others

  • Wash your hands

  • Limit how frequently you touch your mouth or nose

We got our flu shot last week! Now go get yours!!

It's all good, so keep on rollin,’

Roberta, RN and Patty, BSN, RNC

The Rollin’ RNs ™


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