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Flu Season Begins

Published on 18 September 2015

As children head back to school, and the air finally turns cooler, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your family from the flu this year. That starts with an immunization. Clark Kebodeaux, Pharm.D., BCACP, regularly consults with and provides immunizations to patients. Kebodeaux is also an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, where he brings the latest vaccination information to his students in the classroom and at his practice site. Kebodeaux also regularly trains other pharmacists on how to vaccinate, allowing them to expand services they offer to their patients.

In the coming days, he will answer questions about what happened during last year’s flu season, what is changing for this year, his recommendations, what to do in case you get sick, and the possibility of a universal flu vaccine.

What happened last year?

The CDC describes the 2014-15 flu season as moderately severe.

“Normally vaccines reduce a patient’s chance of seeking medical care by about 60 percent, last year it was closer to around 20 percent,” Kebodeaux says.

The season started a few weeks earlier than average and peaked right at the time schools were on winter break. The season was especially difficult on those 65-years-old and above who were hospitalized at twice the rate of previous years.

“Unfortunately the flu vaccine was not as effective as in years past,” Kebodeaux says. “My concern is that because of last year’s results, many could choose not to be vaccinated this year.”

This season’s flu vaccines are now available at most pharmacies. No appointment needed. In addition to the flu shot, pharmacists can provide a number of other immunizations. The rules vary by state, so check with your pharmacist.

Coming up next week, Kebodeaux will discuss what is changing for this year’s vaccination.

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