Getting the Flu (Influenza) Vaccine: Why It’s Important

The flu virus is highly contagious. An affected person can spread the illness within six feet of themselves. The result can be either a mild or severe case of influenza. A mild bout of the flu may involve a low-grade fever, while more severe cases can be life-threatening. Young kids and individuals with chronic health conditions are most prone to developing serious flu-induced pneumonia. Getting the flu vaccine can help you and your family avoid the illness. The CDC reports that affected persons may be able to spread the flu virus the day before any symptoms occur. This means you are already contagious before you are even aware of being sick. The best protection is to get the flu vaccine. People are impacted in various ways by the flu virus:

  • Infants under 6 months of age are at an increased risk for flu complications. At this age, babies are too young to receive the flu shot.
  • Due to the rapid spread of the flu virus, even healthy adults and children are at risk
  • Pregnant women and young children (healthy or otherwise) are high-risk groups for serious flu complications
  • People who suffer from diabetes, asthma and any immune deficiency disease are prone to serious flu complications.
  • There are multiple flu strains floating around with symptoms that range from a low fever to potentially fatal pneumonia.
  • If you or your child have a mild or moderate case of the flu, you can pass it on to someone else who may become seriously ill.

How Can I Protect My Family From the Flu?

The best line of protection is to get the flu vaccine. Flu season runs from October–March, and it takes a couple of weeks for the shot to take full effect. Plan to get flu shots for you and your family prior to the onset of the season. Also, be diligent about washing your hands and teach kids how to clean their hands properly.

Who Is Not a Good Candidate for the Flu Vaccine?

Some kids should not receive the flu vaccine. These children should be washing their hands diligently and limit their exposure to others who may have the flu. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), these are the people who should not get the flu shot:

  • Kids who are severely allergic to the flu vaccine
  • Children who have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
  • Children with a severe egg allergy, since most flu vaccines contain traces of egg.
  • Kids who are already ill, whether or not they have a fever, should recover before getting the flu shot.

Can You Contract the Flu From the Flu Vaccine?

The flu shot does not cause the illness, but kids may experience minor side effects after receiving the flu vaccine, such as body aches, soreness at the injection site, and a low-grade fever.

Where Are Flu Shots Given?

The flu vaccine is readily available through your primary doctor, at pharmacies, grocery stores, and free flu shot locations. Contact your local Department of Health for a list of places to get a flu shot free or at a low-cost. You can also use this helpful link,

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