The Centers for Disease Control is a great go-to resource for information about the flu and the flu vaccine. Here’s what you need to know this year.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot every year. Vaccination is particularly important for people at high risk of serious complications from the flu. This includes adults age 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems, such as individuals undergoing chemotherapy. If you care for a high-risk person, it’s also important that you get a flu shot.
Some people, based on their health or allergies to flu vaccine or its components, should not get a flu shot.
If you’ve had the flu before, you probably know the answer to this question. Flu can make you seriously ill and lead to hospitalization and even death. Last winter, over 80,000 Americans died of flu, the highest death toll in 40 years.
90% of those deaths were in people over age 65. Individuals in this age group have the greatest risk of severe illness and death, due to the weakening of the immune system that happens as we get older.
For optimal protection, get your flu shot before the end of October. This is generally the time before flu begins spreading in your community. Flu season most commonly peaks between December and February but can last as late as May. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body. Although you can get vaccinated later in the season, early immunization is your safest option.
Different flu shots are approved for people of different ages.
Different flu shots are approved for people of different ages. Everyone should get a vaccine that is appropriate for their age. For adults age 65 and older, two vaccines are available:
If you’re between age 4-64, you may be eligible for the quadrivalent flu vaccine, which protects against four different flu viruses: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. You can learn more about this specific vaccine here: Flucelvax quadrivalent flu vaccine.
A nasal spray flu vaccine is available this year but is only approved for use in people age 2-49, who are healthy and who are not pregnant.
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 about whether the flu shot is right for you, talk to us. If you want to learn more about predictions and plans for the 2018-2019 flu season, see these frequently asked questions.
You have the power to fight flu. Protect yourself and your family today.