Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Between 80% and 90% of flu related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. This is why you need to be diligent at getting your flu shot. A flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu and spread it to others.
How do flu shots work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. Traditional flu shots are made to protect against three flu viruses; the influenza A (H1N1) virus, the influenza A (H3N2) virus, and the influenza B virus.
Who should get vaccinated this season?
For the 2016-2017 flu season, the CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with either the influenza vaccine (IIV) or the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu shot every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza.