It’s that time of year again. As family and friends are gathering for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. Now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you have not gotten vaccinated yet. A flu vaccine can protect you and your loved ones. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. This season, CDC recommends only flu shots (not the nasal spray vaccine).
While seasonal flu activity varies, flu activity usually peaks between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. As long as flu activity is ongoing, it’s not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this potentially serious disease. Even if you have already gotten sick with flu this season, it is still a good idea to get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).
It’s especially important for pregnant women, children younger than 5 years, adults 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions such as cancer, asthma, diabetes, or heart disease to get vaccinated against the flu each year because they are more at risk for developing flu-related complications.
Each year, the flu causes people to experience a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, chills, and miserable days spent in bed. While every flu season is different and unpredictable, the seasonal flu can be serious, even deadly for some people.
Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work or school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. The vaccine is a safe way to protect yourself from the flu and potentially serious complications, like pneumonia.
The flu shot cannot give you the flu. The most common side effects from a flu shot are a sore arm and maybe a low fever or achiness. The soreness is often caused by a person’s immune system making protective antibodies to the killed viruses in the vaccine. These antibodies are what allow the body to fight against flu.
If you haven’t already been immunized for the flu, get your flu vaccination to protect you and your family now. Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies, as well as by many employers and schools.
To schedule an appointment at a Madison County Health Department Flu and Immunization clinic, visit healthymadisoncounty.org.