|FLU SEASON IS HERE, ARE YOU READY?|
According to Mayo Clinic staff, 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. A vaccine that protects against four strains of the virus will also be available, as will a high-dose flu vaccine for adults age 65 and older.
The staff stated in a recent article on the Mayo Clinic website that “because the flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, its availability depends on when production is completed. For the 2016-2017 flu season, manufacturers have indicated shipments are likely to begin in July or August and continue throughout September and October until all vaccine is distributed. Doctors and nurses are encouraged to begin vaccinating people as soon as the flu vaccine is available in their areas”.
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.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends use of injectable influenza vaccines (including inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines) during 2016-2017. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also noted on their website that, “Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During recent flu seasons, between 80% and 90% of flu related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. "Flu season" in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.”
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools.
Even if you don't have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else, like a health department, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, and often your school, college health center, or workplace.