It’s that time of year again – flu season. Shopping malls are crowded, family and friends gather together, weather cools down, and flu activity is increasing. Flu season typically begins at the start of Fall and can end as late as May. The term “flu season” refers to the span of time in which the influenza virus is most contagious.
The first week of December is National Influenza Vaccination Week. It was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to heighten the importance of continuing flu vaccinations through the holiday season and beyond. Below are some helpful tips to be mindful of.
- You can still benefit from the influenza vaccination even if you have already gotten sick with the flu. This is because many different flu viruses spread during flu season and most flu vaccines protect against four different flu viruses.
- Vaccination is recommended before the end of October.
- Getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial during most seasons for people who have put it off.
- Flu vaccination can be life-saving in children.
Who Can Get the Flu Shot?
- “All persons aged 6 months of age and older are recommended for annual vaccination, with rare exception.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Pregnant women and people with certain chronic health conditions.
- Most people with an egg allergy.
- The Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (IIV) is approved for people as young as 6 months of age.
- The Recombinant Influenza Vaccine (RIV) is approved for people aged 18 years and older.
- The adjuvanted and high-dose inactivated vaccines are approved for people aged 65 years and older.
Who Can NOT Get the Flu Shot?
- Children younger than 6 months of age.
- People with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.
Talk to Your Health Care Provider
Talk with your health care provider so he or she can decide whether vaccination is right for you. It is important to discuss all allergies with your doctor, let them know if you are not feeling well, and to discuss family health history which may determine if vaccination is safe for you. In addition, there is another alternative to the traditional vaccination method. A nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in healthy non-pregnant individuals ages 2 years to 49 years of age. However, it is advised to talk with your health care provider prior to receiving any type of influenza vaccination.
Below are the symptoms for the flu classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information about the difference between a cold and the flu, a list of emergency warning signs of the flu, and flu complications please visit the CDC website.
- Sore Throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and Diarrhea*
*Not everyone with the flu will experience fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children than adults. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, please contact a health care provider.
It is not too late to receive a flu shot. Although it is recommended that flu shots are received before the end of October, getting a flu shot now can help protect you and others against the flu viruses throughout the flu season. Since it is National Influenza Vaccination Week, spread this information with the people around you to further heighten the importance of getting vaccinated. Lastly, visit your health care provider to find out which vaccination is right for you.
Need help finding a doctor? Visit choosememorialcare.org for a complete list of our award-winning healthcare professionals within our growing network of over 200 convenient locations.