In the words of poet William Bryant, “Autumn is the year’s last, loveliest smile.” From the changing foliage and apple picking to pumpkin carving and football, fall offers fun activates for everyone. Unfortunately, fall is also the start of flu season, and being sidelined because you are stuffed up, have a cough and chills, or worse is never ideal.
The first step in ensuring that you and your family are safe from the flu is getting your flu vaccine. It can be hard to keep up with the ins and outs of the flu vaccine, but we’ve pulled together a few notes to keep you in the know.
Who should get a flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year. This is especially important for people who are more likely to experience complications from the flu.1
Those with diabetes, in particular, may benefit dramatically from receiving the flu vaccine. In a study of 125,000 people with type 2 diabetes by British researchers, the flu vaccine was tied to reduced flu-season hospital admissions, including:
- 30 percent reduction in admission for stroke
- 22 percent reduction in admissions for heart failure
- 19 percent reduction in admissions for heart attack
- 15 percent reduction in admissions for pneumonia or influenza 2
Flu vaccine "twofer"
Expectant mothers are another group that can benefit from receiving the flu shot. While current flu vaccines are not effective in infants less than 6 months old, a South African study of over 1,000 infants whose mothers received a flu shot while pregnant showed that during the first 8 weeks after birth, the vaccines were 85.6% effective.3 The effectiveness of the vaccine decreased to 25% at 8 to 16 weeks and to 30% at 16 to 24 weeks.
If you are expecting, you should speak with your doctor or pharmacist about getting the flu vaccine as well as other ways to protect you and your baby from the flu. Consistently washing your hands, keeping your baby away from those who may have the flu, and making sure the rest of your family is vaccinated are ways you can limit the chances of your baby getting the flu.1
Every year the flu virus changes so it is important to get your flu shot each and every year, even if you’ve never had the flu — this could be the year you do and it’s completely within your power to prevent it or lessen its severity if you do get it. Studies have shown that the flu vaccine can protect you from the flu for about six months and that a flu shot in early fall may prevent the most cases.
Don’t let your family miss out on any of the fall fun — call your doctor or local pharmacist to get your flu shot today.
Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.
- Who Should Get Vaccinated This Season. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/vaccinations.htm Accessed 9-16-16.
- Flu Shot Tied to Fewer Hospitalizations, Deaths in Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_160085.html Accessed 8-31-16.
- Pregnancy Flu Shot Protects Newborns for 8 Weeks: Study. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_159719.html Accessed 8-31-16.
Posted on Fri, September 30, 2016
by Alex McManus