Getting a flu shot often protects you from coming down with the flu. And although the flu shot doesn’t always provide total protection, it’s worth getting.
This year’s annual flu shot will offer protection against the H1N1 flu virus, in addition to two other influenza viruses that are expected to be in circulation this flu season.
Influenza is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly to young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against influenza.
Here are the answers to common questions about flu shots:
When is the flu vaccine available?
LK Health now offers the flu vaccine available and availability will continue throughout early spring 2018. It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot, but you can benefit from the vaccine even if you don’t get it until after flu season starts.
Why do I need to get vaccinated every year?
New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses. After vaccination, your immune system produces antibodies that will protect you from the vaccine viruses. In general, though, antibody levels start to decline over time — another reason to get a flu shot every year.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccinations for everyone age 6 months or older. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of influenza complications, including:
- Pregnant women
- Older adults
- Young children
- Children between 6 months and 8 years may need two doses of the flu vaccine, given at least four weeks apart, to be fully protected.
- Chronic medical conditions also can increase your risk of influenza complications. Examples include:
- Cancer or cancer treatment
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kidney or liver disease