Fluzone® is a brand name for the influenza ("flu") vaccine. It is used to provide active immunity to the flu virus. Optimal vaccination time is October-November, prior to exposure to the flu; however, vaccination should continue into December and throughout flu season as long as vaccine is available
Influenza virus (commonly known as "the flu”) is a serious disease caused by a virus. Influenza virus can spread from one person to another through small droplets of saliva that are expelled into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also be passed through contact with objects the infected person has touched, such as a door handle or other surfaces.
Influenza virus vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by influenza virus. The vaccine is redeveloped each year to contain specific strains of inactivated (killed) flu virus that are recommended by public health officials for that year.
The injectable influenza virus vaccine (flu shot) is a "killed virus” vaccine. Influenza virus vaccine is also available in a nasal spray form, which is a "live virus” vaccine.
Influenza virus vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the virus, which helps your body to develop immunity to the disease. Influenza virus vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.
Influenza virus vaccine is for use in adults and children who are at least 6 months old.
Becoming infected with influenza (commonly known as "the flu”) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Influenza causes thousands of deaths each year, and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.
Like any vaccine, influenza virus vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person. This vaccine will not prevent illness caused by avian flu ("bird flu").
Do not receive this vaccine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a flu vaccine, or if you have:
an active or uncontrolled neurologic disorder (such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, or epilepsy);
a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome (especially if you had it within 6 weeks after having a flu vaccine); or
if you are allergic to chicken or egg products.
Before receiving influenza virus vaccine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;
a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine);
an allergy to latex rubber;
a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments; or
if you are taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).
You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.
Vaccines may be harmful to an unborn baby and generally should not be given to a pregnant woman. However, not vaccinating the mother could be more harmful to the baby if the mother becomes infected with a disease that this vaccine could prevent. Your doctor will decide whether you should receive this vaccine, especially if you have a high risk of infection with influenza.
It is not known whether influenza virus vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
This vaccine should not be given to a child younger than 6 months old.
Follow your doctor’s instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity after you receive this vaccine.
Influenza virus injectable (killed virus) vaccine will not cause you to become ill with the flu virus that it contains. However, you may have flu-like symptoms at any time during flu season that may be caused by other strains of influenza virus.
You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.
Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever have to receive another influenza virus vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
severe weakness or unusual feeling in your arms and legs (may occur 2 to 4 weeks after you receive the vaccine);
high fever; or
Less serious side effects may include:
low fever, chills;
redness, bruising, pain, swelling, or a lump where the vaccine was injected;
headache, tired feeling; or
joint or muscle pain.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Before receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor if you are using phenytoin (Dilantin), theophylline (Respbid, Slo-Bid, Theodur, Uniphyl), or a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin).
Also tell the doctor if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:
an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;
medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders, such as azathioprine (Imuran), efalizumab (Raptiva), etanercept (Enbrel), leflunomide (Arava), and others; or
medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection, such as basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with this vaccine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you have received. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
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