Pneumonia shot recommended for some groups

Dr. Steve Samuels
Published: .
Updated: .

While health officials have been strongly recommending the flu shot for anyone over six months old, there's another shot recommended for some patients that sometimes goes overlooked.

This year's flu shot protects about 70 percent of patients who get it, so the odds are still on your side to get the flu shot.

The flu comes on quickly. The rapid onset is marked by a high fever, aches and a runny nose with coughing.

For his patients, Dr. Steve Samuels prescribes Tamiflu in the first 24 hours to ward off or diminish the full onset. He also recommends Mucinex DM in the morning, Tylenol three times a day and Nyquil at night for as long as symptoms last.

Considering your health status, you might want to consider a pneumonia shot.

"Guidelines for the flu vaccine are essentially anyone over the age of six months and so everybody ought to get a flu shot. The pneumonia guidelines are a little different. If you are over the age of 65, we strongly recommend the pneumonia vaccine. Or if you have any chronic underlying illness, if you are a smoker, if you have COPD, if you have diabetes or any kind of immunologic deficiency, you should also get the pneumonia vaccine at least two shots in your life, five years apart," he said.

"If you have had your spleen out, you get them every two years for the rest of your life," said Dr. Samuels, speaking of the pneumonia vaccine.

"So we do recommend the pneumonia vaccine in the appropriate patient population. That is a big worry with flu. Flu can lead on to super infection with pneumonia, and that is when people get really sick and die from flu. It's not the flu itself. It's the secondary infections that occur," he said.

If you have symptoms, know that you are contagious. Don't put others at risk.

"This year is a very contagious flu. The reports have been it can survive eight hours outside your body on table surfaces. So that is a little longer than most flu viruses year to year. We are seeing a higher infectivity this year," he said.

Whether you're at the gym, at your child's day care or at the office, wipe down equipment, keyboards and phones - including cell phones; wash your hands and keep your hands off your face.

Flu shot clinic info

The Visiting Nurse Service at St. Francis will offer two flu shot clinics this week.

The clinics will be held on Wednesday and Thursday (Jan. 16-17) from 3-7 p.m. at the Visiting Nurse Service at St. Francis Central Office at 4701 N. Keystone Avenue.

The clinics will offer vaccinations to children six months of age and older. There will be a limited supply of Thimerosal Free vaccine available.

Flu shots will cost $35, a half-dose flu shot (for children 6-35 months old) will cost $30. The Thimerosal Free vaccine will cost $40 and pneumonia vaccinations will cost $70.

The Visiting Nurse Service at St. Francis accepts cash, check, certain Medicare plans and Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield. No appointment or prescription is necessary for the clinics.

Flu shot map - Allows you to put in your zip code and then offers you a list of locations in your area that have the flu shot.

CVS flu shot info - Allows you to find a location and schedule an appointment. Or call 866-389-2727.

Walgreens flu shot info - Find a location and schedule an appointment.