Health & Wellness

Flu Season Means Flu Vaccines

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62662-flu-myths-vs-facts-colorFlu season is here and health professionals recommend that you get a flu vaccine. The flu shot can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to a study published in 2016 that showed that people 50 years and older who got a flu vaccine reduced their risk of being hospitalized by 57 percent.

The flu vaccine is an important preventative for people with chronic health conditions. The CDC has found that the vaccine has reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease. It reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about half. The vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy and protects the developing baby during pregnancy and for several months after birth.

The flu vaccine can lessen your symptoms if you do get sick. A vaccination protects not only you but the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies, young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions. The CDC studies show that the vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by 50 to 60 percent. The effectiveness of the vaccine can range from season to season. Age and health are factors that play an important role in determining the likelihood that the vaccine will provide protection.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines known as “trivalent” vaccines are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses called “quadrivalent” vaccines. These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.

The CDC recommends use of injectable influenza vaccines including inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines during 2016-2017. To find the nearest place that is offering flu shots, visit flu.gov.

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