Every year, thousands of Americans die from the flu, but it’s not possible to predict how bad the flu will be this year, or any other year. It is possible, however, to decrease your risk of the flu and help keep those around you safe from influenza virus. Vaccinating against influenza virus can help prevent the spread of flu and make the flu less severe if you get it. Here are a few things that you should know about the upcoming flu season.
- Influenza viruses are most commonly spread through coughing, sneezing, and close contact.
- Most flu outbreaks occur during flu season, typically between October and May, but you can get sick with the flu at any time during the year.
- Flu can lead to other illnesses such as pneumonia and blood infections. Don’t wait to see the doctor if your symptoms are severe, if your symptoms do not go away, or if you’re at a high risk for complications from the flu.
- You need a dose of flu vaccine every flu season. Influenza virus constantly changes, and the flu shot you received last season won’t protect against the flu this season.
- Flu vaccine does not contain live flu virus, and flu vaccine cannot cause the flu.
- It takes roughly two weeks for flu vaccine to protect against the virus.
- Children between the ages of six months to eight years may need two doses during a single flu season, but everyone older than eight years of age just needs one dose.
- Flu vaccine protects against the three or four different strains of flu virus that researchers predict will be most abundant during the upcoming flu season.
- If you have severe, life-threatening allergies to egg protein, or if you have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) you shouldn’t get a flu vaccine. Also, if you’re sick it’s better to wait and get the flu vaccine once you’re feeling better.
Vaccinating against the flu is the most effective way to protect yourself, your family, and your community from influenza virus. The CDC has full details about the 2018 – 2019 flu season. You can get your flu shots in Northwest Arkansas from MANA clinics.