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Monday, December 9, 2013
No vaccine left
I asked my doctor about getting a flu shot and he told me that none was available. Is there anything I can do to cut down my risk of getting sick?
There are limited supplies of injectable influenza vaccine. There is a newer mist vaccine that costs ~$60 and is more available at some locations (pharmacies, health departments). It is a "live" vaccine which means that it is a less active type of influenza virus that allows your immune system to respond without making you sick. However, if you live or work around anyone with or if you have an immune system problem like cancer or AIDS, then you should not use this mist vaccine.
Other ways to protect yourself include what we call "respiratory etiquette." This means you wash your hands after touching things in public places. While in public places, do not rub your eyes, nose or face until you have washed your hands. Encourage friends and co-workers that are sick to stay home until 24 hours after their fever is gone. If you have small children, wash your hands after taking care of them. Staying away from public places that are enclosed may also help (like movie theatres, restaurants, etc.).
Carl Fichtenbaum, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati