People With Egg Allergies Can Now Get the Flu Shot

Hamilton Health Sciences is planning for higher volume visits due to the flu season says Sarah Khan the associate director of infection and control

State Says Flu Activity Now "Widespread"

Flu activity in OH has become widespread, the state's highest designation, almost a month earlier than past year and has resulted in a number of hospitalizations in Clark County already.

The nasal spray vaccine provides good protection for children against influenza and is most effective if given before flu starts to circulate.

Previous year flu activity wasn't considered "widespread" until mid-January. There were almost 87 hundred flu-associated hospitalizations past year. But a national panel of experts said Tuesday that egg allergies shouldn't prevent anyone from getting the shot and that reactions to the vaccine are no more likely among those with allergies than anyone else.

However, not everyone in that range has been able to get the vaccine to date.

So far this flu season, the state has recorded 401 flu-associated hospitalizations across Ohio. Most flu vaccinations are made using chicken eggs and contain small amounts of the protein ovalbumin, which has been thought to be a no-go for egg allergy sufferers.

To reach this conclusion, the association reviewed dozens of studies involving thousands of patients with egg allergies who have received a flu shot and did not have allergic reactions - including hundreds with life-threatening egg allergy. He says it's still too early to tell, but he says those thinking of getting the vaccine, shouldn't be anxious about that myth that you'll get the flu from the flu shot. "Both children and asthmatics are vulnerable populations who are highly recommended to receive annual influenza vaccine, so this subgroup is, in particular, a prime target to protect".

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If the vaccine is age-appropriate, it can be used for anyone with or without egg allergy.

One of the main concerns with any vaccine is a severe allergic reaction - known as anaphylaxis.

"Widespread" is the highest level of the flu activity, a step up from "regional" which means cases of the flu are now in every region of the state.

"My understanding is there's definitely some open beds at this time, we have the capacity to open extra beds if needed still", Khan said.

"That doesn't rule out that somebody might react to the influenza vaccine", Greenhawt said.

As for how effective this year's vaccine will be? She said there are three main strains of flu going around.

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