According to the CDC everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.

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, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized.  Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.   The CDC estimates that flu related hospitalizations since 2010 ranged from 140,000 to 710,000. That’s staggering!

You cannot get the flu from a flu shot.

This is a common misconception because flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination.  That’s why it’s so important to get your flu shot early in the season, since it takes about 2 weeks to “kick in”. These antibodies the your body develops in response provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.  The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be the most common during the upcoming season – another reason it’s so important to get your flu shot every year.

Bottom line is that everyone should get vaccinated, but it is most important for the following groups:

  • Children younger than 5
  • Adults 65 of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • Asthmatics or those with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Anyone with a history of heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.

With the new federal initiatives in the health care delivery model across the industry pushing for the increase in quality care – health providers alike have identified two major quality measures –  flu vaccination and the prevention of hospitalizations.  Vaccinations not only help those who get it, but helps those around them stay safer and healthier too. It also helps healthcare service providers keep patients healthy, safe and at home rather than in the hospital. Win for all!

When interacting with your family, friends and colleagues it’s okay to ask or encourage them to get the flu shot. Many people have been provided wrong information or inundated with myths. Perhaps you’ll now be armed with the information you need to ensure your health and safety and the health and safety of those around you.

Click here for 6 Common Flu Vaccine Myths Busted!