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Beginning this time of year, you start to see this message often: Get your flu shot and get it now! Ads, public service announcements, commercials and other messages are all over the Internet, television and just about every other medium. Why is this message so widespread? Because it’s sound, practical and logical medical advice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a yearly seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others. When more people are vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through the community. Learn the facts about the flu vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine. Certain age groups or those with medical conditions may want to make early efforts to scheduling their flu shot with their physician. Adults who are age 50 and older, women who are expecting to be pregnant during influenza season, health care personnel, caregivers of children younger than age 5 and adults older than age 50, nursing home residents or chronic care facilities, and those who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, neurologic, metalogic or metabolic disorders should receive a yearly flu vaccine.
According to the CDC, there were 172 pediatric deaths from influenza in the 2017-2018 flu season. While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works each season, the CDC published a study in Pediatrics that showed how the flu vaccination can be lifesaving for children. The study examined data from 2010 to 2014 and reported that the vaccine had reduced the risk of flu-associated death by over 50 percent among children with high-risk factors and 65 percent for healthy children. Dr. Kristen Lagor says, “While the vaccine doesn’t always prevent a runny nose or a mild case of the flu, there’s good data to show that kids are less likely to die from the flu if they’re vaccinated.”
Flu shots are a safe and effective way to combat a serious infection that could lead to hospitalization and even death. Throw out the excuses, concerns and skepticism, and heed the advice. The new vaccine will be available soon so call your primary care office to schedule an appointment for your flu shot. Can’t get in to see your primary care physician? BayCare Urgent Care will be offering flu shots at locations throughout Tampa Bay. Call your local urgent care center to find out when the vaccine will be available.