Influenza, or the “flu” is a potentially serious disease that impacts millions of people every year. Although it is very common and contagious, getting an annual flu vaccine is a highly effective way to prevent getting the flu.
ANNUAL FLU VACCINE
There are many different types of flu viruses that can impact different people in different ways. The annual flu vaccine however is designed to protect against the strains of flu that research indicates will be the most common during the upcoming flu season. The vaccine works by causing the body to develop antibodies (a protein produced by the immune system) that fight against the certain flu viruses.
SHOULD I GET A FLU SHOT?
The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months old should be vaccinated yearly with a flu shot. Because it takes 2 weeks after the vaccine is given for the body to start making antibodies, it is recommended that people get the flu vaccine by the end of October.
Although it is preferable to get vaccinated early and before the peak of flu season, people should continue to get vaccinated throughout the duration of the flu season —even January or later.
High Risk Groups or groups that are especially likely to get very sick or experience complications with the flu include:
- Children (especially 6 months – 5 years)
- Pregnant women
- Adults 65+ years old
- Those with certain health conditions
COMMON FLU SYMPTOMS
Although the flu vaccine lowers your risk of getting the flu, it is still possible to contract the virus.
If you become sick or experience any of these symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with others. If you are a high risk group or become very ill, visit your doctor or health care provider.
- Sore Throat
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Muscle/Body Aches
- Fatigue or Tiredness
Sources: CDC. WebMD. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.