Take Time This Flu Season to Get a Flu Shot
updated: Oct 07, 2013, 9:57 AM
Source: Public Health Department
Flu season is approaching, usually starting in October and continuing through the winter months with peak activity in January and February. Influenza, commonly called "the flu," is caused by the influenza virus, which infects the respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs). Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people.
Every year, flu spreads across the country, from person to person, family to family, and community to community. The severity of flu illness can vary from mild to severe. When severe, flu complications can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu. Each year in the United States on average: An estimated 5-20 percent of the population can be infected with the flu, and more than 200,000 people may be hospitalized during a flu season.
An annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and the flu-related complications that could lead to hospitalization and even death. Health experts across the country recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine. Yearly flu vaccination should begin as soon as vaccine is available, and should continue throughout the flu season which can last as late as May.
Traditional flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called "trivalent" vaccines) will be available this season. In addition, this season, flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called "quadrivalent" vaccines) will also be available. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend one flu vaccine over the other. The important thing is to get a flu vaccine every year.
Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever before. Vaccines are available from your doctor and at many retail pharmacies. Many employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines.
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