Flu season is upon us. Time to locate a flu shot clinic or contact your primary care doctor to set up an appointment.
You may be asking yourself, “Can I or my child get a flu shot if either of us have an allergy to eggs?” The answer used to be no, but now the answer is yes.
The CDC recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older receive a yearly flu shot. There are various flu shots available, making understanding which to get a bit more complicated.
It is important to consult your doctor to clarify which flu vaccine options are available to you based on your age, allergy status and general health.
Basically there are flu shots that have protection against three flu strains (trivalent) or four flu strains (quadrivalent). The CDC does not recommend one type over the other.
Some are non-live virus shots (inactivated). There are certain brands that are only used in children who are 3 years of age and older, versus those for infants who are 6 months of age and older. Check with your pediatrician.
Live virus (attenuated or weakened) FluMist® nasal spray is only for those who are healthy, non-pregnant, aged 2 through 49 years.
And, new for 2013-2014 for those with egg allergies, two trivalent vaccines that do not use chicken eggs in their production. One is called Flucelvax® that uses cultured animal cells and is available for those aged 18 years and up.
The other, called FluBlok®, does not use the influenza virus or chicken eggs in its production and is available for persons aged 18 years through 49 years.
The risks and side effects of both new vaccines are described to be in line with regular flu shots, though the CDC says that there is no safety data regarding their use on pregnant women or nursing mothers.
You may be wondering -- what about kids with egg allergies? I’ll get to that.
The CDC makes a point of separating those people who have some sensitivity to eggs versus those who are out right allergic.
The CDC guidelines state:
- If a person can eat a lightly cooked egg, they can have the regular flu shot.