While it may still feel like summer, flu season is just around the corner. As October approaches, health officials are bracing for new outbreaks of the virus and warning people that the key to staying healthy is to get an early flu shot.
According to the CDC, the 2017-2018 flu season was one of the worst in years. It was the first season to ever to be classified as high severity across all age groups, and also one of the longest. It surpassed records set by the severe 2014-2015 flu season in terms of hospitalizations, and 180 children died from influenza-related complications nationwide.
Approximately 80 percent of those children had not received a flu vaccine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older receive a flu vaccine to lower their chances of contracting the illness. The organization also recommends the vaccination over the nasal spray due to its greater effectiveness.
These suggestions have also been made by the CDC. It is recommended that the vaccine should be taken by October.
Children and seniors are particularly at risk of contracting the flu. Individuals with breathing problems are also at risk, as it is easier for infections and illnesses like pneumonia to develop once they’ve had the virus.
There are some misconceptions that surround the flu vaccine. It is not 100 percent effective, but it can significantly lower your chances of contracting the flu. The vaccination is also designed differently each year to combat strains of influenza that health officials believe will be common in the coming season.
According to a CVS Pharmacy press release, 22 percent of their patients who did not get the vaccine last year (about one in five) will be getting the vaccine this year due to the severity of the 2017-2018 season.
For more information on flu vaccines, including concerns for people with egg allergies, call a local health professional or pharmacist.