Vaccinate Against Flu: It's Not Too Late!
Don't let influenza (the flu) catch YOU by surprise this season. Be prepared; get vaccinated today.
After a busy holiday season, you might be reluctant to add one more thing to your to-do list. But it's worth it.
"Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it's the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu," says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and Director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
If you haven't gotten your flu vaccine yet, there is still time to protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated. Flu season is just beginning in the United States and the season may not peak until February or March. It's also possible that we could continue to see flu in the United States until May.
Get a Flu Vaccine Every Flu Season
The best way to protect against the flu is to get a flu vaccine every flu season. The flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Anyone can get the flu, and getting a flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your family. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends and loved ones. Everyone 6 months of age and older is recommended to get vaccinated against the flu every year.
Flu activity is unpredictable but often peaks in January or February. And although there are many different flu viruses, the yearly flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common that flu season.
So what are your options? There are 3 different types of flu shots. The regular flu shot is recommended for almost everyone, 6 months of age and older. The high-dose flu shot is available for adults 65 years of age and older, and the intradermal flu shot uses a very small needle, and is available for adults 18-64 years of age. If you are afraid of getting the flu shot, consider FluMist®. It's a nasal spray vaccine and is safe and effective for healthy people, 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
Important reminder for parents and caregivers: Many children getting vaccinated against the flu for the first time will need 2 doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected. If a child has not received his/her first dose, get them vaccinated now. For those who have been vaccinated with one dose, parents should check with the child's doctor to see if a second dose is needed for full protection.
Who Is at Risk?
Everyone is at risk for getting the flu. For millions of people each year, the flu can bring a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. However, you may not realize that the flu also leads to more than 200,000 flu-related hospitalizations per year. The flu also can be deadly. Between 1976 and 2007, CDC estimates that annual flu-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of about 3,000 people to a high of about 49,000 people.
Anyone can get the flu, but some people are at greater risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia. For those at greater risk for complications, getting the flu vaccine is especially important. Some of the groups at greater risk include:
- Children younger than 5 years old, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- Pregnant women
- People with certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes (type 1 and 2), or heart and lung disease
- People 65 years and older
It also is important to get vaccinated if you care for anyone in these high risk groups, including babies younger than 6 months because they are too young to get vaccinated themselves.
Get Vaccinated – It's Not Too Late
You and your family can still benefit from a flu vaccine. Make a commitment to your health and to your family's health by getting your flu vaccine today. Flu vaccines are offered in many doctors' offices, clinics, grocery stores, pharmacies, local health departments, and possibly even your child's school or your workplace. So even if you don't have a regular doctor, you can get a flu vaccine at many other locations. Use the Flu Vaccine Finder to find the nearest location with available flu vaccine.
So don't let the flu catch YOU by surprise this season; be prepared and get vaccinated today if you haven't already–it's not too late!
For more information about the seriousness of the flu and the benefits of the flu vaccine, talk to your family's doctor or visit www.cdc.gov/flu
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. A US federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
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