Your Simple Guide to Flu Vaccinations

Posted Dec 20, 2013 | Posted in Diseases & Treatments

Vaccinate Your ChildThe peak of flu season usually strikes in January, and if you haven’t gotten a flu vaccine yet this year, you could be at serious risk for this deadly disease.  Many people get vaccinated as early as October to protect themselves from early outbreaks. Others may choose to wait a little longer, but it’s crucial to get vaccinated before major outbreaks start occurring, which can often be in January. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet this year, or don’t know how to go about it, read below for a quick guide of the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of flu vaccines.

Who Should Get Vaccinated?

As a general rule, anyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccination. It is especially important for high-risk individuals to get vaccinated, which includes:

  • People with asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, or other conditions that put them at higher risk for complications from the flu
  • Caregivers or household contacts of people who are at high risk for complications from the flu
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children under 5 years old
  • Seniors over the age of 65
  • Caregivers or household contacts of infants less than 6 months old
  • People who work in a healthcare setting

Children under 6 months of age or individuals who have had a previous severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine should not be vaccinated.

What Types of Flu Vaccines Are Available?

The flu vaccine is available in two forms – a shot or a nasal spray.  With each of these, there are several variations of the vaccine that protect against different viruses and provide different doses. The CDC does not recommend one variation or method over another; the important thing is just to get vaccinated.

When Should I Get Vaccinated?

In the United States, the peak of flu season usually hits in January.  However, outbreaks can occur as early as October, so the safest option is to get vaccinated in the fall. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet this year, you should make it a priority to have done by January.

Where Can I Get Vaccinated?

Flu vaccines are available in many places to make it as easy as possible for everyone to be vaccinated. You can get vaccinated at your doctor’s office, a public health department, pharmacies, schools, churches, and even many companies are now providing flu shots at work for employees. You can also use this map to find other vaccination locations in Johnston County and beyond.

Why Should I Get Vaccinated?

Influenza, or the flu, is a serious disease that can lead to death. In some of the worst flu years, there have been almost 50,000 deaths in the United States.  Flu viruses change each year, making the disease unpredictable, so prevention is key to reducing flu outbreaks. This also means it’s important to get the vaccine every year – since the viruses change every year, the vaccine needs to change every year.

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