As you probably all know, the influenza vaccine is now out and widely available. The CDC estimates that approximately 40,000 people die annually from influenza and its related complications (mostly the very young and old) in the US, so the flu shot can literally be lifesaving. When you have a chance, please encourage your patients (both in your live practice and telemedicine) to get a flu shot via their primary care provider.

For the 2017-2018 flu season it is recommended that only the injectable vaccine be administered, and to avoid the live attenuated influenza (nasal spray) vaccine. All health care professionals should also get their influenza vaccinations early in the fall, as it generally takes antibodies roughly two weeks to develop after you receive the shot.

As a quick reminder, there are individuals who should NOT get the flu shot, which may include:

  • Infants under 6 months of age,
  • Those with severe egg allergies or a known allergy to any component of the influenza vaccine,
  • Or anyone with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

On a personal note:

I skipped my flu shot in 2002 (yes, I remember the year) because I was “too busy” to get it. That winter I contracted the flu and was literally bedridden for over a week. I felt like I had been hit by a freight train. If you haven’t had the flu in many years or even decades it is easy to forget how miserable the flu really is. Needless to say, I have not missed a flu shot since—so please, all of you, make the time to get this done for yourself, your family, and your patients.

For more general information and key facts regarding the influenza vaccine and the flu, please visit the CDC website or speak with a MeMD provider about preventative measures and treatment options.

Dr. Lorenzo is the Chief Medical Officer of MeMD. He received his BS with Honors from Creighton University in 1984, his MD from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine with High Distinction in 1988, his CPE in 2011, and his Master of Science in Healthcare Management with High Distinction from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2014. He is subspecialty, fellowship trained, and board certified neurologist with clinical training at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Kansas Medical Center.


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