Flu is in season – have you had your shot?
Have you had your annual influenza vaccine? Believe it or not it is time to prepare for the next flu season. Although season officially begins in October and lasts until May we strongly recommend early vaccination. It takes two weeks for your body to create antibodies to the influenza virus so it is very important to receive your shot in late September or October to have the most protection throughout the flu season.
What is Influenza?
Influenza is a rapidly changing and very contagious virus that affects the respiratory tract from the nose to the lungs and can cause symptoms ranging from very mild nasal congestion to a severe life-threatening infection. Some of the most common symptoms include: cough sore throat body aches fever cough fatigue and headache. It is estimated that an infected individual is contagious 1 day before symptoms begin and up to 1 week after the onset of symptoms.
Who should be vaccinated?
- Anyone 6 months of age and older
- Influenza is most dangerous for the very young and the elderly.
- Individuals managing chronic conditions are pregnant or have a suppressed immune system
- Examples: COPD Asthma Diabetes Mellitus Congestive Heart Failure HIV among others
What are the benefits of vaccination?
- Avoid influenza infection
- Reduce the severity of illness if you contract another strain of the virus
- Protect those around you including your loved ones and community from the spread of influenza
- Decrease the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the flu by minimizing viral transmission
Why should we vaccinate every year?
- The influenza virus is constantly changing and vaccinations must be adapted annually to provide the most protection possible for the coming year
- Our immune systems need an additional boost every year to maintain active antibodies against the influenza viruses.
For further information visit the CDC website covering influenza vaccination: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm