By SouthFloridaReporter.com, Oct. 10, 2015 – It’s October, it’s fall and it’s the start of the Flu season. Even healthy people can get very sick and even die from complications from the flu.
Experts say getting the flu shot is your best defense against it!
This year, the popular nasal spray vaccine is delayed and may not be available in some locations until later in the fall. However, that’s not a good reason to put off being vaccinated. The earlier you get vaccinated against the flu, the better – regardless of how it’s delivered.
“It’s important to get vaccinated early on in the season, if possible, because it takes two to four weeks for antibodies to form and for people to get protected from influenza,” says Susan Rehm, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 76 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed so far this year.
How well the vaccine works in fighting the flu can vary from season to season, but the CDC says this season’s shot has been updated to better match the viruses that are circulating, compared to last year.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
The flu is a very serious respiratory infection and can cause hospitalizations and even death.
Some people are more vulnerable to complications from the flu. Some people think they are healthy and don’t need the shot. However, even a routine case of influenza can result in several days of missed work and school.
You may be healthy, but others around you may not be. If you get the flu, you could pass it to those who are at risk for complications from disease and at risk of not responding well to the vaccine. This includes infants, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions.
The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine.
Getting the shot does more than protect you, too. It protects others at higher risk for the disease. You may have heard of the term herd immunity or community immunity. This occurs when a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease.
You’re building herd immunity when you get a flu shot, because you’re less likely to spread germs to other people with whom you come in contact. The end result is you’re preventing disease in people who might ultimately get sicker than you would.
“We know based on research from Cleveland Clinic and the CDC that the more of us that get vaccinated overall, the better it is for people who are more vulnerable,” says Dr. Rehm.