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Roll Up Your Sleeve – It’s Time to Get Your Flu Vaccine

From the Desk of Dr. Antonucci

Sept. 14, 2022

Flu viruses can circulate throughout the year (you may recall the summer surge we experienced this year), but typically increase in October and usually peak between December and February. So, with the start of the flu season right around the corner, we at Lee Health want to remind you to roll up your sleeve for the flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine is the best and most important step you can take to prevent flu. While it still is possible to get sick even after vaccination, getting the flu shot reduces the severity of the illness. Because of this protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive the vaccine. Vaccination is particularly important for those who are at high risk of developing flu-related complications, including:

  • Adults age 65 years and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
  • Children younger than 5, but especially younger than 2 years of age
  • People who have medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, chronic lung diseases and weakened immune systems, among others

The flu is very contagious and can be transmitted to others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after the illness begins. Remember, too: It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in the body. The CDC recommends people get the flu vaccine by the end of October to ensure protection.

Every flu season is different, and the virus can affect people differently, too. Millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

Flu can mean a few days of feeling bad and missing work or it can result in more serious illness.  An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu.