Can influenza be prevented?
Yes. If you receive an influenza vaccine, you are likely to be protected from influenza for a year. The vaccine is given as a shot or a nasal spray. You must get the vaccine every year in the fall to be protected. Sometimes the vaccine does not prevent influenza but makes its symptoms less severe. The vaccine is safe, even for pregnant women. You cannot get influenza from the vaccine.
Who should get the vaccine?
It’s a good idea for everyone to get an influenza shot each year. You will protect yourself and other people. People who have a high risk of becoming seriously ill from influenza are urged to get a flu shot once a year. You should also ask your doctor about a pneumonia vaccination. You have a high risk if you have:
- Lung disease
- Kidney disease
- Heart problems
- An illness or are taking a medicine that makes it hard for your body to fight illnesses
- Severe anemia
You also have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you:
- Are over 65 years old
- Are under 18 years old and must take aspirin regularly
- Live or work in a nursing home
- Have AIDS
Other individuals who are not at high risk might also receive a flu vaccination. If you work in a healthcare facility, you may transmit influenza to others in a healthcare facility, but you are not at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. The suggestion from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that everyone over the age of 6 months gets a flu vaccine if there are no contraindications. This includes individuals who are not at high risk.
Who shouldn’t get the vaccine?
You shouldn’t get the influenza shot if you are:
- Severely allergic to eggs
- Sick with a fever (Wait until you are better)
When should I get the vaccine?
The best time to get the flu vaccine is in the fall. The strongest time of protection is one to two months after you receive the vaccine.