If you’ve been putting off getting vaccinated against influenza, or flu, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds you to wait no longer. The flu season begins in October and can last until May, with the peak occurring in January and February.
The CDC recommends that all people over 6 months old get vaccinated against influenza, which can cause pneumonia. In children it can also cause diarrhea and seizures. Those at greatest risk for developing influenza with complications are people 65 years old and older; pregnant women; and those with heart, lung or kidney disease; or who have a weakened immune system.
Now that there are so many types of vaccines offered at so many locations, there’s no excuse for procrastination. This year you can get the typical trivalent vaccine, made up of two influenza A and one influenza B strains or a quadrivalent vaccine, which contains an added influenza B strain. You can opt for an egg-free vaccine if you have a food allergy to eggs, which is how the vaccines are grown. The vaccine can be given intradermally, under the skin, using a 90% smaller needle vs, intramuscularly, in a muscle. There’s a high-dose vaccine for those over 65 and a nasal spray, too. The CDC even offers a HealthMap Vaccine Finder so you can locate the nearest flu vaccine provider.Head to the government website, or to the CDC website, for more information on the 2013-2014 flu season.