At Jennings, our focus is on developing communication that makes the world a healthier place to live. Often, good health begins with each of us and the decisions we make. Are we taking accountability for our own health and doing the things we need to stay healthy? That’s what led me to think about the flu vaccine.
Did you know that Americans lose an estimated $16 billion in income due to flu-related illness and death every year?
Between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-related deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older.
When should you have a flu shot?
The “Flu season” can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body, it’s better to get vaccinated early in the fall, before the flu season really gets started.
An annual flu vaccine is needed since the flu viruses are constantly changing. The formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes gets updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.
Who should get a flu shot?
Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual vaccination.
Why should you get a flu shot?
-It can keep you from getting sick from flu. Protecting yourself also protects the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.
-It can help protect people who are at greater risk of getting seriously ill from flu, like older adults, people with chronic health conditions and young children.
-It can reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes, like hospitalizations and deaths.
-It’s an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.
Even though the flu vaccine can’t give you the flu, you might develop flu-like symptoms, including:
A reaction to the vaccine. Muscle aches and fever for a day or two after receiving a flu shot are not uncommon. Side effects from the nasal vaccine can be runny nose, headache and sore throat.
The 2-week window. If you’re exposed to the virus shortly before or during the two-week window needed for the flu shot to take effect, you might catch the flu.
Mismatched flu viruses. If the influenza viruses used for the vaccine don’t match the viruses going around during the flu season, your flu shot will be less effective.
Other illnesses. Many other illnesses, including the common cold, can produce flu-like symptoms. So you may think you have the flu when you really don’t.
For more information about who should and shouldn’t get vaccinated, visit cdc.gov or talk to your health care professional.