It's Time to Get Your Flu Shot!
The 2018-2019 flu season was the longest in a decade. Since cases begin to rise as early November, the time to get your flu shot is now. Read on for news about the upcoming flu season and everything you need to know about getting vaccinated.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends, since 2010, that every person age 6 months and older should receive an influenza vaccination every year, with very rare exceptions.
Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at increased risk of flu-related complications. This includes adults age 65 and older, and the immunocompromised, such as those receiving chemotherapy.
There are very few reasons for someone not to receive a flu vaccination. These include people with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccines or any of the ingredients they contain. If you are unsure, talk to us.
Why get a flu vaccine?
Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause serious illness, hospitalization and death in people with chronic health problems.
The CDC estimates that between 36,000-61,000 Americans died of the flu in the 2018-2019 flu season (preliminary estimate). The season lasted 21 weeks, the longest in 10 years. Of the hundreds of thousands who are hospitalized each year, people 65 years and older regularly account for over 50%.
Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to protect yourself, along with careful hand washing. Additionally, good nutrition, adequate rest and regular exercise are important ways to boost your immune system and provide further protection.
When should I get the flu vaccine?
You should receive your flu shot no later than the end of October. This ensures you’re protected as influenza cases begin to rise in November, and prior to the peak months of flu season, which typically occur from December through February. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop immune protection.
Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial. If you miss getting the shot by the end of October, simply get it as soon as possible.
What kind of flu vaccine should I get?
There are different types of flu vaccinations available, and there are several changes to the available options for the 2019-2020 flu season. Each year, all flu vaccines are updated to better match viruses expected to be circulating in the United States.
Trivalent (three-strain) options include:
High-dose shots for people 65 years and older.
Shots made with adjuvant for people 65 years and older.
Both of the above options create a stronger immune response, which makes them more effective in older adults since the immune system tends to weaken as you age.
Quadrivalent (four-strain) options include:
Shots made with virus grown in cell culture. No eggs are involved in the production of this vaccine.
Shots made using a vaccine production technology (recombinant vaccine) that does not require the use of flu virus or eggs.
Live attenuated influenza nasal spray vaccine. The nasal spray vaccine is approved only for use in people ages 2-49. It is not recommended for use in pregnancy or for use among people with some specific medical conditions.
Note that the CDC makes clear that no type of flu vaccination is preferred over the others, as long as the vaccine is appropriate for your age and health status.
Where should I get my flu shot?
You and your family members can get the flu vaccine at one of many local pharmacies and clinics. These links will take you to flu shot locations, many of which offer coupons and rewards.
If you have any questions or concerns about receiving your flu shot, talk to us. The CDC provides much more in-depth information about flu vaccines and the upcoming flu season, which you can view here.