Seasonal Flu Vaccine

flu vaccineSo, what’s the difference between the traditional flu vaccine and the preservative-free flu vaccine? The main difference is that the preservative-free flu vaccine does not contain thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury based preservative that protects against the growth of bacteria and fungus that could damage the vaccine. It is used in multi-dose vials of the flu vaccine to ensure it does not become contaminated as it is used for multiple people. Though different needles are used with each vaccination, thimerosal offers additional protection. Thimerosal is not used in single dose vials where the vaccine is limited to one vial per patient.

So, is thimerosal dangerous? There is no debate whether the substance mercury is toxic. Scientists agree that mercury is a potent neurotoxin (a toxin that affects the nervous system). The debate, however, ensues around the form of mercury and the amount that is considered toxic. The claims around thimerosal causing autism are under great debate and no study to date has shown a definitive link. The question is a simple yet a personal one. Do you want to expose yourself, your young children, or an unborn child to mercury, a known potent neurotoxin? To me, it makes great sense to minimize our exposure to mercury especially when there are other safer alternatives available.

The preservative-free vaccine works in the same way as other flu vaccines. It contains the same three strains of the inactivated influenza virus that is determined by research to likely be the most common strains for the approaching cold season. It takes about 2 weeks after the injection for the vaccine to become effective. Side effects are similar to those of other vaccines and include: soreness at the site of injection, low-grade fever, and muscle aches. The best time to get vaccinated is early in the fall before flu season; however, it can be received throughout the flu season until late January or even later. The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months or older to get the flu vaccine every season.

At Hermann Wellness, we offer preservative-free flu vaccines to our patients. Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Tetanus, Diphtheria aand Pertussis Vaccine – Tdap

These three diseases are caused by bacteria.  Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person and tetanus enters the body through a cut or wound.  Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful muscle spasms, and can lead to death if not treated.  Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat, untreated it can lead to heart failure or paralysis.  Pertussis (whooping cough) causes severe coughing and vomiting.  Pertussis that is not treated may lead to pneumonia.

The Tdap was licensed in 2005.  It is the first vaccine for adolescents and adults that protects against all three diseases.  It can be used as a catch-up vaccine for individuals who did not receive all their doses when they were children, as a booster dose every 10 years, and for protection against tetanus infection after a wound.  Mild reactions after the vaccine can include pain or redness at the injection site, nausea, headache or low-grade fever.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician located in Tampa, Florida offers this vaccine to her patients.  Self-pay pricing is competitive with the national pharmacy chains.  However, insurance and Medicare will often cover all or a portion of the vaccine cost.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

This post was written by Anne Hermann. Follow Anne Hermann on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Pneumonia (Pneumococcal Polysaccharide) Vaccine

Pneumococcal disease is caused by a type of bacteria.  Untreated, pneumococcal disease can lead to pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections (bacteremia).  Individuals at greater risk for developing pneumococcal disease include the very young, people over age 65, smokers and people with weakened immune systems or certain health problems including:  heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Usually only one dose of PPSV is needed.  However, a second dose is recommended for people 65 and older who received their first dose prior to age 65, and for individuals who are younger than 65 but have weakened immune systems.  If necessary, the second dose is repeated 5 years after the first dose.  Mild side effects such as fever, or pain and redness at the injection site may occur after the vaccination.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician located in Tampa, Florida provides this vaccine to her patients.  Self – pay pricing is competitive with the national pharmacy chains.  However, insurance or Medicare will often cover all or a portion of the cost.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

This post was written by Anne Hermann. Follow Anne Hermann on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Who in Tampa Needs a Shingles Vaccine?

Shingles is a painful, sometimes itchy skin rash with blisters.  It is also called Herpes Zoster. Only someone who has had chickenpox can get shingles.  A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the body and lasts from 2-4 weeks.

Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, this virus stays in your body and can cause shingles many years later.  You cannot catch shingles from another person with shingles, but if you have never had chicken pox you can get chicken pox from someone with shingles.  Shingles is more common in people over the age of 50, and people whose immune system is weakened because of a disease such as cancer or certain drugs like chemotherapy.

In 2006, a vaccine was licensed for shingles.  A single dose is recommended by the CDC  for adults age 60 and older. The vaccine reduces the risk of shingles by 50% and can reduce pain in individuals who still get shingles after being vaccinated.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, located in Tampa, is happy to offer this vaccine to her patients.  Self pay pricing  is competitive with the national pharmacy chains at approximately $250.00 .  However, insurance and medicare will often cover all or a portion of the vaccine cost.  Please contact the office  at 813-902-9559 for more information.

This post was written by Anne Hermann. Follow Anne Hermann on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.