By Caroline DeFilippo, MD MPH | Internal Medicine
With fall right around the corner, cold and flu season will soon be upon us. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, affects millions of people each year. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can be a very serious disease which can lead to hospitalization and even death. The best way to protect you and your loved ones is to get the flu vaccine annually.
In the U.S., the flu season is most common in the fall and winter; however, seasonal influenza viruses are detected year-round. Typically, flu activity begins to increase in October, peaks between December and February, and can last as late as May.
Signs and Symptoms
The flu shot reduces your chances of getting the flu, the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, and helps prevent spreading the flu virus to others.
Who Should Get the Flu Shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age six months of age and older get vaccinated; however, the flu shot is particularly important for pregnant women, senior citizens, and young children.
People with the following chronic medical conditions should also strongly consider getting the flu vaccine:
Simple Ways to Stop the Flu
Contact your primary care physician’s office to arrange for a flu vaccination. Vaccines typically are available beginning in September. Speak with your physician prior to getting the vaccine if you have had a negative reaction to a previous vaccine, are allergic to eggs or mercury, or have a fever.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention