Get Your Flu Shot Now!

Article posted in: Lifestyle

The arrival of cooler weather is a good reminder: it’s time to get your flu shot. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everybody over the age of six months get immunized each year against the flu, especially those 65 and older, young children, pregnant women and those with health problems for whom catching the flu can be life-threatening.

Last year’s flu season was especially devastating in the United States, with some 150 deaths among children reported to the CDC. It also saw the highest rate of hospitalization for flu treatment of seniors ever recorded, according to the CDC. The severity was blamed in part to an imprecise formulation of the influenza vaccine, which failed to include immunity against the strains of the flu that predominated last year.

This year, however, the CDC feels the vaccine formulation is much more promising, and early cases of the infection are showing the strains the organization predicted.

Flu season typically starts in October and peaks in January. Experts recommend getting vaccinated as soon as the shots or sprays are available to ward off early cases, although you can wait as long as January if you have to. And why would you wait? Even if the vaccine doesn’t provide complete immunity, it’s still the best step you can take to ward off a potentially life-threatening disease. Flu shots are widely available—lookffor them at your local pharmacy—and often covered by health insurance.

Other good steps for preventing the spread of the flu: covering your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, rigorous hand-washing, and avoiding touching your face—especially your mouth, nose and eyes—during flu season. And be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat well.