Thursday, October 20, 2016

How do you know when you need a flu shot?

The flu used to be a generic term for just about any virus. Now, however, more people realize that the flu - short for influenza - is actually a serious upper respiratory infection. The flu is highly contagious and can cause serious complications, even hospitalization for some people. The best defense against influenza? An annual flu shot.

Young boy getting a flu shot


What is the influenza vaccine? 

Unlike traditional vaccines, the influenza vaccine is new each year. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Flu vaccines are made to protect against three flu viruses: an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are 3 types of flu shots available:


  1. Regular flu shot (the most common type)—for people aged 6 months and older, injected into the muscle (usually in the upper arm)
  2. High-dose shot (Fluzone High-Dose)—for people aged 65 years and older, injected into the muscle
  3. Intradermal shot (Fluzone Intradermal)—for people aged 18-64 years old, injected into the skin with a smaller needle

There is also a nasal spray (FluMist) made from live, weakened flu viruses. The nasal spray is available for healthy people aged 2-49 years old who are not pregnant. It is the preferred vaccine for healthy children who are 2-8 years of age.


Who should get a flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that anyone aged 6 months and older should get a flu shot. Children 6 months to 8 years of age will need 2 doses of the vaccine. This will help your child build immunity to the virus. It takes about 2 weeks for the vaccination to protect you against the flu. Even if you have been vaccinated, you can still get the flu. If you have flu symptoms, call your doctor.

When should you get a flu shot?

Flu season typically lasts from October to May. The best time to get vaccinated is as soon as the vaccine is available. This will protect you before the flu comes to your community. Flu vaccines are available now. Call your doctor to schedule an appointment for you and your family.

Do you live in Logansport, Rochester, Winamac or surrounding areas? Looking for a doctor? Logansport Memorial has excellent physicians on staff and most are currently accepting patients.

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