It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot

Updated 1 year ago Edited from a Press Release

Hurricane, WV – This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, a reminder that it’s not too late to get your flu shot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season typically peaks between December and March. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop antibodies to protect against infection from the influenza virus, so getting a flu shot this time of year can still be beneficial and protect individuals through the holidays and into the height of flu season.

The most common symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and fatigue. It can also cause serious health complications like pneumonia and bacterial infections.

Every year millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from the flu. The 2017–2018 flu season was a particularly severe season, with an estimated 48.8 million people getting sick, 22.7 million people going to a health care provider, 959,000 hospitalizations, and 79,400 deaths due to influenza, according to the CDC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart, in order to be protected. High-dose and adjuvanted flu shots are also available for people 65 years of age and older.

The vaccine that can help reduce the risk of flu and its complications. While the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year, there are many studies that show that flu vaccination reduces flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school due to flu, and prevents flu-related hospitalizations.

The CDC estimated that during the 2016-2017 flu season, the flu vaccine prevented about 5.3 million flu illnesses, 2.6 million flu-related medical visits and 85,000 flu-associated hospitalizations. However, less than half of the people in the U.S received a flu vaccine that season; leaving millions of people unprotected. If just 5% more of the population had been vaccinated against the flu during the 2016-2017 flu season, an additional 504,000 illnesses, 233,000 doctor’s visits and 6,000 hospitalizations would have been prevented.

Some people, such as pregnant women, children younger than 5, especially children younger than 2 years old, people 65 year of age and older, and people who have certain medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, are at high risk for serious flu-related complications that can lead to hospitalization and death.

Flu vaccination of pregnant woman helps protect them from flu illness and hospitalization and has also been found to help protect the baby from the flu for several months after birth, before the baby can be vaccinated. Flu vaccination has also been found to reduce rates of some cardiac events, such as a heart attack, among people with heart disease, particularly those who have had a cardiac event in the 12 months prior to flu vaccination.

The flu vaccine is especially important for individuals at high risk of serious flu complications. It’s also important to get the vaccine if you care for anyone at high risk, including children younger than 6 months who are too young to get a flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, health departments, pharmacies, community health centers, and travel clinics, as well as by many employers and schools. For more information about the flu and the benefits of flu vaccination, talk to your health care provider.

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