Fall is Almost Here; Are You Getting a Flu Shot?

The last day of summer is upon us (Sept. 23rd at 5:05am EDT to be exact) and it's time to get your flu vaccine for the year.

According to the CDC, influenza ("flu") can occur at any time, but it mostly occurs between October and May. In recent seasons, most infections occurred in January and February. Even if you wait until December it can still be beneficial in most years. It takes two weeks for protection to develop after the shot and it lasts for about a year.

The CDC recommends that all people ages six months of age or older get the flu vaccine and you can get it as soon as it becomes available. This is especially important for healthcare personnel and others in close contact with children under six months of age. Although allergic reactions to the flu vaccine are rare, those with severe allergies, especially severe allergies to eggs, should consult a healthcare professional about getting the vaccine. Previously, such individuals were told to avoid getting immunized but, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, if you have an egg allergy and your only reaction is hives, you may get a standard flu shot.

85 million doses have been produced so far. These have been distributed to doctors' offices, public health clinics, pharmacies, and retail stores. The American Lung Association will offer a Flu Vaccine Finder once the season starts.

Sources:
Inactivated Influenza Vaccine 2011-2012, What You Need to Know. (07/26/2011). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-flu.pdf
Rubin, Rita. (09/21/2011). Survey: Two-Thirds of Americans Plan to Get Flu Vaccine. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20110921/survey-two-thirds-of-americans-plan-to-get-flu-vaccine