As the 2018 holiday season approaches, visit your pharmacy or doctor's office as soon as possible to get your annual influenza vaccine before seasonal flu season and peak flu season are in full swing .
Your body needs approximately two weeks to build adequate immunity to the flu strains contained in this year's vaccine. Receiving your vaccine will now prepare you to fight the virus in case you find it later when the flu season really increases.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people be vaccinated by the end of October for optimal protection during the flu season, influenza activity varies across the country and now is the best time to vaccinate the Texans East.
All people over 6 months of age (ie, those who are currently reading this article with very few exceptions) should receive an annual flu vaccine.
Those at highest risk of complications from influenza infection should receive a flu vaccine as soon as possible. These include: children 6 months to 5 years, adults 50 years of age and older, and individuals with respiratory, cardiovascular, renal, liver, neurological, hematological or metabolic diseases (such as diabetes).
Also pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, nursing home residents or long-term care institutions, Native Americans / Alaska Natives and people who are extremely obese are considered to be at increased risk and should be vaccinated annually.
If you are over 65, ask your pharmacist or doctor about receiving the high-dose influenza vaccine. The high-dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen, as does the vaccine against the common cold, causing the immune system to develop a more robust immune response.
Both the high dose and the standard fourfold vaccine are inactivated (dead), so it is not possible for the flu vaccine to have the flu. Adverse reactions to the vaccine are usually limited to pain and redness at the site of injection, however, low fever, headache, muscle aches and malaise may occur.
As I mentioned earlier, everyone over 6 months of age should get the flu shot with very few exceptions. These exceptions would be individuals who have had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine or its components in the past.
Sensitivity or allergy to eggs is no longer a reason not to take the flu vaccine. Likewise, the disease at the time of vaccination does not necessarily exclude you from receiving it – if you have a fever or are being actively treated for an infection, consult your doctor or pharmacist to find out whether or not to go ahead and take the vaccine or wait until you get better.
Influenza vaccines can also be paired with other vaccines, such as pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines and the pertussis vaccine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if these vaccines are right for you.
Medicare and many prescription insurance plans pay for the vaccine in full, but ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the coverage of the flu vaccine.
Vaccination, especially against influenza, is an important tool to maintain your personal health and the health of our community.