Vaccination is the best defense against the "Flu"

Public health agencies say the flu vaccine is the best protection from the flu and its complications

Flu vaccines are available from your doctor and at many retail pharmacies. Who is at the highest risk for having complications from it? The vaccine's effectiveness depends on multiple factors - including the amount of time between vaccination and exposure to the disease, your age and health status - yet studies show that the flu vaccination benefits public health, especially when the vaccine is well matched to that year's circulating viruses.

This year's Flu strain is more risky for younger people.

Of course, the flu shot isn't flawless - the CDC says its effectiveness varies, generally reducing your risk by 40 to 60 percent. "It is possible to have the flu a couple of times in the season".

"Influenza may be familiar, but should never be overlooked or accepted as a minor problem", said Dr. Alexia Harrist, Wyoming state epidemiologist, in a news release this fall. "If we don't get vaccinated, we are needlessly putting ourselves at risk of serious illness, but we are also gambling with the health of children and others around us who can't get vaccinated".

"I'm very concerned about our vaccination rates for flu, especially among young children, which dropped 4 percent past year alone", said Dr. Levine.

The flu shot is available at health care providers walk-in clinics and participating pharmacies
The flu shot is available at health care providers walk-in clinics and participating pharmacies

Vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza and its complications and getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu.

"Each year, the flu vaccine must be reformulated to ensure it is effective".

Myth: The flu vaccine is only necessary for the old and very young. At a time of widespread fear and grief, few options existed for treatment or prevention of the flu.

Past year was one of the deadliest on record, with more than 80,000 people dying from the flu. Health experts across the country recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older, including pregnant women, get a flu vaccine. However, any patients with a history of an egg allergy or a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, should speak with their health care provider about options for flu vaccination.

There is evidence the flu can be milder and briefer in those who have been vaccinated against the flu. It may also eliminate the need to get a flu shot every year. Although flu vaccines are not ideal, they are the best way to prevent getting the flu. How can you encourage them to get vaccinated? Thirty-eight states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico experienced minimal flu activity for the week ending December 1, while New York City and 10 states experienced low or moderate activity, according to Friday's weekly flu report from the CDC.

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