There are changes to the flu vaccine this year. Do you know what they are?

(KSN file photo)
(KSN file photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Flu season is upon us and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says now is the time to get vaccinated.

There’s some big changes to the flu vaccine this year that you might want to know about.

The first change is good news for anyone with an egg allergy.

Before, people with severe egg allergies were unable to get the flu vaccination but now it’s recommended, according to the CDC.

People with a history of egg allergy who have only experienced hives after exposure to eggs should receive any licensed and recommended flu vaccine that’s okay for that person’s age and health.

People who have had reactions to egg involving anything other than hives, like trouble breathing, lightheadedness or other medical emergencies, can also receive the flu vaccine, according the CDC guidelines.

Those people with more serious egg allergies are advised to get vaccinated under the supervision of a health care provider who’s able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.

It’s only if you’ve ever had a severe reaction to the flu vaccination itself that they suggest not getting it.

The next change could be bad for some children and adults who don’t like needles.

This year, the CDC declared that the nasal spray flu vaccination is ineffective and should no longer be used.

It may be uncomfortable but protection is the number one goal, according to the CDC, so getting the flu shot vaccination still recommended.

The final change to this year’s flu vaccine is aimed at helping senior citizens. There’s a new and stronger vaccine available for people 65-years-old and older this season. It contains an ingredient added to the vaccine to create a stronger immune response.

People in this age group often have a lower protective immune response after getting the flu vaccination compared to younger people. This new flu vaccine is called Fluad and it was first licensed last November but it’s now available for this flu season.

CDC studies from previous flu seasons show 80 to 90 percent of seasonal flue-related deaths and 50 to 70 percent of hospitalizations occur among people 65 years of age and older. With its boost to immune response, this new vaccine could help those numbers go down.

So, when is the best time to get your vaccination? The sooner the better, according to the CDC.

Flu season runs from October through as late as May and it’s best not to wait until friends and family are already sick.

The CDC offers a three step approach to fighting the flu:

  • First, get vaccinated;
  • Second, take everyday preventative actions;
  • Third, use anti-viral drugs if a physician prescribes them.

Some of those preventative actions the CDC suggests include:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then toss that tissue in the trash;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are recommended;
  • Avoid contact with sick people;
  • Finally, if you do get the flu, stay home from work or school to limit your contact with other people while you’re contagious.