Friday, January 10, 2014

The benefits of getting your flu vaccination

Winter — aka flu season in the U.S.— is here and let’s face it, the flu is no fun. Fever, cough, aches, pains: ugh! Luckily, there’s a great way to help prevent all that. Namely, a flu vaccination.
Let’s focus for a moment on why you should get your flu vaccine. First off, for some people, the flu is more than just “no fun,” it’s dangerous. People at high risk for serious complications from the flu include seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

FluMIst (CDC/ Douglas Jordan, M.A.)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 31 million flu-related illnesses last flu season in the U.S. and 381,000 people were hospitalized because of them.

Secondly, the flu can be deadly. Thousands of deaths from flu occur every year and, sadly, 169 were among U.S. children last season.
What can you do? Get your flu vaccination. It’s not too late! The flu vaccination is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older and comes in a variety of options, including nasal and egg-free versions. There’s even one that’s injected under the skin with a small needle, for those who are squeamish.
When you get vaccinated against the flu not only do you lower your chance of getting it, you lower the chance of spreading it to children and other at-risk people you care about. And if you do get the flu, your symptoms won’t be as bad and you’ll get well faster.

At least six children have already died from the flu this season, according to CDC. Flu cases are occurring in every state, with many states reporting widespread flu activity. There have also been reports of severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults infected with a type of flu virus known as pH1N1.

The good news is that vaccinations prevented more than 6 million flu-related illnesses last season in the U.S. They also prevented 79,000 people from going to the hospital because of the flu — enough to fill a large football stadium! Let’s all do our part to get those numbers higher this year. Find a flu shot vaccination location near you and sign up to track the flu in real time in your community.

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