The flu vaccine and Duchenne: What you need to know

Yes, summer is winding down, and the welcoming of fall brings many things – cooler weather, wonderful fall colors, the beginning of school and, unfortunately, the start of flu season. Every year, thousands of people get the flu. While it can be an inconvenience for some, the flu has resulted in thousands of deaths. A recent study shows that children with underlying neurologic disorders, like Duchenne, are at especially high risk of pulmonary complications and death from the flu.


The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has joined with The  American Academy of Pediatrics, Families Fighting Flu and Family Voices to spread the message about the importance of influenza vaccination to protect our children.


The influenza vaccine, or “flu shot,” is an injection into the muscle, usually given in the upper arm or thigh. The flu shot contains inactivated (dead) virus and is recommended for patients with neuromuscular diseases and patients taking chronic steroids. Because the virus is dead, there is no risk of getting the flu from the flu shot. (The “nasal spray flu vaccine” contains living virus, and is NOT recommended for people with neuromuscular diseases.) 


The flu shot for 2012-2013 will protect against 3 kinds of viruses: influenza B, influenza A (H1N1) and influenza A (H3N2). The most common side effects from the flu shot are pain at the injection site, low-grade fever, slight tiredness, and mild generalized muscle soreness. These side effects are most common in children getting their first flu shot, and will go away on their own within 1-2 days.


The best time to get vaccinated is as soon as it is available in your community. It takes about 14 days for the body to build up antibodies for the 3 viruses in the vaccine. Those antibodies will protect against those 3 flu viruses. 


PPMD wants to keep both you and your family safe and healthy. So you can enjoy the good parts of fall!



Kathi Kinnett, Director of Clinical Care
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