CDC issues tips for fighting flu this season

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STAR STAFF

Flu season is coming — that time of year when if you get sick, at best, you have aches, pains, and a few days of misery. At worst, the flu can lead to serious complications and even death. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends and loved ones.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. According to the CDC individuals need a flu vaccination every year for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination decreases over time, so you need a new vaccination each year for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, vaccines are updated annually to keep up with the changing viruses. With each new flu season, you need a new flu shot.

It’s best to get vaccinated before flu viruses start to spread in your community. When you get your flu shot, your body starts to make antibodies that help protect you from the flu. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to become protected.

Flu can be a serious illness, particularly for young children, older adults, and people with certain long-term health conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. It’s better to get a flu shot than to get the flu. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalization, or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults.

It’s important to remember that if you get sick, you can spread the flu to others who may be more vulnerable to serious complications that can result in hospitalization.

Flu vaccines that are recommended for this season are either made with inactivated (killed) flu viruses or without flu viruses at all. Flu shots cannot give you flu illness. You can have some side effects after vaccination, but this is not flu illness.

The most common side effects from flu shots are mild, such as soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. These side effects usually last less than two days.

You can get a flu vaccination at many convenient locations. See your doctor to get a shot, or visit other locations offering vaccinations such as pharmacies, health departments, and grocery stores. Use HealthMap Vaccine Finder to find flu vaccinations in your area.

Protect yourself and your loved ones. Get a flu vaccination this fall. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.

 

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