It’s flu season again … and I just hate it when people are exposed to preventable illness because of their own laziness or that of others! Please do yourself, and the rest of us, a favor: Get your flu shot today!
And, can we please put to rest this hurtful myth that the flu vaccine is dangerous? It’s just not true, so for the scientific facts, please read The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) featured article titled “Flu Season is Around the Corner”. It recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine by October in order to protect yourself and your loved ones! It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop full protection against the flu.
The CDC’s definition of Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that infects the nose, throat, and lungs and can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Pneumonia and bronchitis are examples of serious flu-related complications. The flu also can cause certain health conditions, like diabetes, asthma, and heart and lung disease, to become worse. Even healthy people can become sick with the flu and experience serious complications. But even if you are one of the lucky ones who bounce back quickly from a bout with the flu, people around you might not be so lucky. Getting a flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your family from this serious disease.
A couple of important flu-related facts to note:
1. The flu vaccine is safe. People have been receiving flu vaccines for more than 50 years and vaccine safety is closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For decades, hundreds of millions of flu vaccines have been given safely to people across the country.
2. A common misconception is that the flu vaccine can give you the flu. It cannot. The most common side effects from a flu shot are soreness where the shot was given, maybe a low fever or achiness. The nasal spray flu vaccine might cause congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or cough. These side effects are NOT the flu. If you do experience them at all, these side effects are usually mild and short-lived.
3. Flu viruses are constantly changing; and each season, the different flu viruses circulate and cause illness. As such, flu vaccines are produced each year to protect against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common. This is why everyone needs a flu vaccine every season.
According to the CDC, while everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine this season with rare exception, it’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated. Those people include the following:
- People who are at high risk of developing serious complications (like pneumonia) if they get sick with the flu.
– People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
– Pregnant women.
– People younger than 5 years (and especially those younger than 2), and people 65 years and older.
– A complete list is available at People Who Are at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.
- People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications (see list above).
– Household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
– Household contacts and caregivers of infants younger than 6 months old.
– Health care personnel.
For a complete list of all people recommended for flu vaccination, as well as those who are not recommended for flu vaccination, visit Who Should Get Vaccinated.
See your health care professional to get the flu vaccine, or seek out other locations where the vaccine is being offered, such as pharmacies, health departments, grocery stores and many other places. Use can also visit HealthMap Vacccine Finder to find flu vaccine in your area.
Remember, the suggested deadline to get your flu shot is October … so, find the time and get this year’s flu shot! Your good health during the flu season is important to not only yourself; but, to your friends and family!