Got Your Shot? It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week!

National Influenza Vaccination Week

Happy National Influenza Vaccination Week! This year, we’re celebrating December 6-12. It’s time to remind Americans ages 6 months and older that a flu vaccination is the best protection against flu-related illnesses that lead to doctor’s visits, hospital stays and missed work and school.

The holidays are coming, and with them comes an increased risk of exposure to people with the flu. Think of the…

  • Hours spent shopping in stores with hundreds of other people
  • Large gatherings, such as concerts, plays, church services and holiday festivals
  • Time spent in crowded airports, airplanes and busses

Remember: According to the Centers for Disease Control, it takes your immune system two weeks after a vaccination to build the antibodies you need to guard you from the flu, so the time to prepare is now. It only takes a moment for months of protection.

WHY DO I NEED TO GET VACCINATED EVERY YEAR?

Flu viruses are constantly changing, and every year new ones are traveling the country. Each yearly vaccine is formulated to combat the specific viruses that are currently circulating. Plus, the efficacy of each vaccination lessens as time passes, so it’s important to boost your immune protection on a regular basis.

WHAT IF I ALREADY HAD THE FLU THIS SEASON?

While it’s too late to protect yourself from the specific strain of virus you’ve had, receiving the flu vaccine is still important because it helps prevent infection from the several other viruses determined to be the most common threats this year. The CDC calls vaccines that protect you against three viruses “trivalent vaccines,” and those that protect against four viruses, “quadrivalent vaccines.”

WHO IS AT HIGHEST RISK FOR FLU-RELATED COMPLICATIONS?

For many people, contracting the flu can turn into a serious illness that can even be life threatening if complications develop. People in high-risk groups include:

  • Those with certain chronic health conditions like COPD, diabetes or heart disease
  • People 65 years of age and older
  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Health care workers who care for high-risk people
  • Individuals who care for infants, especially those under 6 months of age who are too young for vaccinations

WHAT IF I GET SICK?

If you or your children do become ill with the flu, avoid contact with other people as much as possible so that you do not infect them. The CDC recommends staying home from work or school for at least 24 hours after a fever has subsided.

Practice rigorous hygiene by covering your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, washing your hands frequently with soap and water, and avoiding touching your face. Teach children to cough and sneeze into their elbows, especially when in public. Keep germs in the home contained by cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects on a regular schedule.

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