What You Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine
It is that time of year again - flu season. As medical providers, we deal with sick people on a daily basis. It is incredibly important that we remain healthy and able to take care of our patients at all times. Not all illnesses can be avoided, but with a little dose of prevention this season you may be able to avoid getting sick.
Our number one recommendation is to get the flu vaccine. Last flu season, nearly 60% of the flu cases reported to CDC were people between the ages of 18 and 64. Even the healthiest people can get sick and the flu vaccine can help you avoid one illness.
Facts about the flu shot
Who should get the flu shot? According to the CDC, everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. Although the vaccine is updated annually, overall it has a very good safety track record. You are in more danger of getting sick from the flu than from the vaccine. It is particularly important to get the vaccine if you live with some who is high risk of complication from the flu. High-risk groups include infants, children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities or underlying health conditions.
How should I get the vaccine? The vaccine is currently available in a traditional shot or in a nasal spray called the FluMist. The shot is approved for anyone older than 6 months, with a special high dose shot for people over 65. The nasal spray is approved for healthy people ages 2-49 with the exception of pregnant women. This year the CDC is recommending that children should receive the nasal spray since it covers all four influenza virus strains and should offer the best protection for this age group.
When can I get the vaccine? Now. The flu vaccine is already available. Unlike in previous years, this year there is no shortage of the flu vaccine. And sooner is better so get your shot as soon as possible.
As with any cold and flu season, your best preventions also include: washing your hands, getting plenty of sleep, eating well, and taking vitamins. Our goal is always to help our patients be safe and healthy. We hope these facts help you make an educated decision about the flu vaccine!
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