Influenza/Flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.
Flu season starts from October and continues till May. It is best to get vaccinated in early October but even now it’s not too late. This vaccine is made to protect against Influenza A (including H1N1) and Influenza B. The vaccination will make the infection milder even if you get sick.
Ideally, everyone 6 months or older should get this vaccine every year. But this Flu vaccine is particularly important for many people who are at high risk of developing Influenza. They are:
- Children younger than 5 years, but especially children younger than 2 years old.
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Pregnant women( and women up to two weeks after delivery)
- People living in medical care for long durations for their illnesses.
People having any of the following conditions must also take the Flu shot:
- Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
- Chronic lung diseases
- Cardiac disorders
- Blood related diseases
- Endocrine disorders like Diabetes
- Liver/Kidney problems
- Metabolic disorders
- Decreased immunity conditions like HIV, cancer or those on long term steroids
- People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- People with extreme obesity(BMI>40)
Apart from taking the vaccine, follow this advice:
- Avoid close contact with sick people, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often (with soap and water), and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu viruses.
- If you become sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Remember to cover your nose and mouth properly when you cough or sneeze. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine before resuming normal activities.)
For more details about Flu, you can refer to the CDC Website
Stay Healthy, Stay Happy !!