During flu and cold season, influenza viruses are circulating rapidly and at higher levels throughout the United States. “Flu season” in the U.S can potentially begin as early as October, and last as late as May.
This year’s annual flu shot will offer protection against H1N1 flu virus, in addition to two other influenza viruses that are expected to be in full transmission this flu season.
Some may overlook the potential dangers of the flu, when in actuality Influenza is a serious infection that can cause serious complications particularly in younger children, older adults, and those living with certain medical conditions.
If you are on the fence about getting your annual flu shot, don’t wait until it’s too late.
Common questions and answers regarding flu vaccinations:
How quickly does the flu shot work?
Answer: It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after getting a flu shot, but you can most definitely benefit from the vaccine even if you don’t get it until after flu season starts.
Who is recommended to get the flu vaccine?
Answer: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual influenza vaccinations for everyone including:
- Pregnant women
- Adults over age 50
- Children younger than age 5, but especially children young than age 2
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- Healthcare workers
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
If I got vaccinated last year, why do I need to get the flu shot again this year?
Answer: New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year's vaccine may not protect you from this year's viruses.
Is there ever a reason not to get the flu shot?
Answer: Influenza vaccine is not approved for use in children younger than 6 months so they should not be vaccinated, but their caregivers should be vaccinated instead. People who are sick with a fever should wait until their symptoms pass to get vaccinated.
Check with your doctor before receiving the flu vaccine if:
- You're allergic to eggs. Some flu vaccines contain tiny amounts of egg proteins. If you have an egg allergy or sensitivity, you'll likely be able to receive a flu vaccine — but you might need to take special precautions, such as waiting in the doctor's office for at least 30 minutes after vaccination in case of a reaction.
- You had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine. The flu vaccine isn't recommended for anyone who had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine. Check with your doctor first, though. Some reactions might not be related to the vaccine.
- You have developed Guillian-Barre’ syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously.
What are the benefits of getting the flu vaccine?
- PROTECTION for yourself.
- PROTECTION for newborns and infants who are too young to get vaccinated.
- PROTECTION for people at high risk who are at complications from the flu.
What are potential side effects of the flu shot?
Answer: The most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot is given.