Flu Season - Time to Get Vaccinated

(September 24, 2013)

Flu season has just begun, so now is the time to get vaccinated against influenza, a potentially life-threatening disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual influenza vaccination.

“It’s important to understand that the flu is not just a bad cold, it’s a serious and often life threatening illness,” said Norman H. Edelman, M.D., Senior Medical Advisor of the American Lung Association. “Many of us know people whose lives have been tragically affected by the illness. Vaccination is safe and effective, and is the best way to help prevent influenza. There are now multiple influenza vaccination options available including an inhaled form for those who do not like needles. People should talk with their health care provider to find the option that’s right for them and each member of their family.”

Influenza is a serious, contagious respiratory illness. Each year, approximately 5-20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu. Each year in the U.S., on average, influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations. Depending on virus severity during the influenza season, deaths can range from 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Flu season in the U.S. can begin as early as October, usually peaks around January and February, and as late as May.

Vaccination against influenza is especially important for pregnant women and people 50 years of age and older, as they are at a higher risk of developing influenza-related complications.  Parents should be aware that the CDC recommends children 6 months through 8 years of age receiving a flu shot for the first time receive two doses approximately one month apart for optimal protection. Parents should have their children immunized as soon as vaccine is available in their area, and not to wait until later in the flu season.

Not sure where to get vaccinated? The Flu Vaccine Finder can help you find a flu vaccination provider near you.

The American Lung Association has more information and resources to help you learn more and protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season.