Protect Yourself and Your Family. Get a Flu Shot.
As you’re making your lists and checking them twice this holiday season, don’t forget to add getting your flu shot. Peak flu season runs from December through February. It is estimated that 5-20% of the population will get the flu this year leading to 200,000 hospitalizations due to complications from the flu virus. What’s more, 3000-49000 people die each year from the flu, making it one of the deadliest viruses around.
The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months old get an annual flu shot. This recommendation has been in place since 2010 when the CDC voted for “universal” flu vaccinations. Vaccination to prevent the flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. People considered high risk include:
- Children younger than 5, but especially those under age 2.
- Adults 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- Residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
- American Indians and Alaska Natives, two groups who seem to be at a higher risk of flu complications
If you decide to skip the flu shot this year, these are some symptoms you should be on the lookout for.
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Most people who get the flu will recover in a couple of days, however, some will develop complications, such as pneumonia, as a result of flu some of which can be deadly. Some common complications in adults include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Why risk getting the flu this year? Getting a flu shot only takes a few minutes, is covered by most insurance plans and it could even save your life.