Every year, an influenza epidemic sweeps across the United States, impacting up to 49 million persons, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Commonly known as the flu, this illness can leave you with uncomfortable symptoms, including a headache, runny nose, fever, and scratchy throat. In more serious cases, it can lead to severe illness or even death. Getting an annual flu shot will help protect you. Find out what you need to know about the vaccine below.
Common Questions About Flu Shots
Who should get a flu shot?
The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccination for all individuals that are six months old and up. Doing your part and getting vaccinated is also a public health concern. By impeding the disease's spread, you protect those who are unable to be vaccinated, such as newborn infants.
When should you get a flu shot?
Flu season varies each year, but it generally runs from October to April. In some years it may start as early as September and last through May. It's advisable to get your flu shot early in the season. This gives your body the time needed to build up immunity to the virus (about two weeks).
Why do you need a flu vaccination every year?
The influenza virus has multiple strains, and these are constantly evolving. Every year scientists attempt to determine which strains will be prevalent and create a vaccine designed to offer protection against precisely those strains. Updating your flu shot annually ensures you’re protected against the most likely and current source of infection.
What else can you do to protect yourself?
Always wash your hands with soap and warm water after you’ve been out in public. Stay away from people who are coughing, sneezing, or otherwise visibly sick. If you’re ill, stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the virus, and get plenty of rest and fluids to support your recovery.
Scheduling flu shots for your family now ensure that you’re protected when flu season starts. HealthSmart Vaccines of Chantilly, VA, offers comprehensive vaccination services that cover everything from influenza to travel-related illnesses. Review their full range of immunization services on their website. Schedule an appointment by calling (703) 961-0733.