Get your shot be­fore flu sea­son

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - ENTERPRISE - He­len Zhang, the United Fam­ily Health­care’s di­rec­tor of phar­macy, con­trib­utes to the ar­ti­cle.

Along with the cold win­ter wind, the flu sea­son has ar­rived. You may re­mem­ber that last year’s flu sea­son was par­tic­u­larly bad, sweep­ing through Asia at alarm­ing rates. The flu isn’t just a lit­tle cold – it’s a far more se­ri­ous ill­ness. Make sure you are pro­tected this year by get­ting your flu shot. He­len Zhang, di­rec­tor of phar­macy

at United Fam­ily Health­care (UFH) phar­ma­cist an­swers your ques­tions about the vac­cine.

1. Why is get­ting a flu shot rec­om­mended?

Get­ting vac­ci­nated is a very ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent the flu. Re­searchers all over the world and long-term vac­ci­na­tion pro­grams have demon­strated that vac­cines sig­nif­i­cantly lower your risk of con­tract­ing the flu and suf­fer­ing from in­fluen­zare­lated com­pli­ca­tions. If you get vac­ci­nated, you are less likely to spread the flu to oth­ers. Im­mu­nity de­vel­ops two weeks af­ter in­oc­u­la­tion and usu­ally lasts for a year.

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2. If I have al­ready been vac­ci­nated, does that mean I am com­pletely safe from the flu?

In gen­eral, the flu vac­cine can pro­tect the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple from con­tract­ing the flu. How­ever, you may not be 100 per­cent safe. Nev­er­the­less, if you do still get the flu af­ter be­ing vac­ci­nated, you will have a less se­vere flu. It’s also im­por­tant to note that flu vac­cines do not pro­tect you from other viruses like the viruses which could cause the com­mon cold, for ex­am­ple.

3. Can ev­ery­one get the flu vac­cine?

If you are se­verely al­ler­gic to eggs (which are used to make the vac­cine) or have had a se­vere al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to the flu vac­cine in the past, you should not get the flu vac­cine. If you have a high fever or acute ill­ness on the day you’re sched­uled to get the shot, you should post­pone vac­ci­na­tion un­til you are bet­ter.

4. Can I get a flu shot if I’m preg­nant or still breast feed­ing?

Flu shots are safe for chil­dren and preg­nant women. Flu shots can pre­vent com­pli­ca­tions from the flu and they are rec­om­mended by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC) in the US and China, even for preg­nant women. If you have any ques­tions or con­cerns, please see your doc­tor be­fore get­ting vac­ci­nated.

5. What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween im­ported and lo­cally pro­duced vac­cines?

Whether they’re im­ported or man­u­fac­tured in China, the vac­cines that we use at Bei­jing United Fam­ily Hospi­tal and Clin­ics (BJU) are al­ways highly con­trolled. Like for­eign-pro­duced vac­cines, the Chi­nese-pro­duced flu vac­cine pro­tects against flu strains and are rec­om­mended by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), which means that their com­po­si­tion will be the same. Im­ported and do­mes­tic vac­cines are both ef­fec­tive and safe. The main dif­fer­ences may be the brand, ori­gin, price, and their ap­proved in­di­ca­tion or dosage in China.

6. I want to get a flu shot. What else do I need to know?

Flu shots are avail­able at the main BJU hospi­tal in Lido, Chaoyang dis­trict, Bei­jing and at most UFH clin­ics around the city. The best time to get vac­ci­nated is at the end of Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber, but get­ting vac­ci­nated in De­cem­ber or later still pro­vides ef­fec­tive pro­tec­tion. It’s nec­es­sary for chil­dren un­der the age of two to make an ap­point­ment with their doc­tor be­fore they get vac­ci­nated.

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