It’s time to think about getting
a flu shot.
Influenza, “flu,” is a contagious disease caused
by a virus that infects the throat and nose. Symptoms include
fever, coughing, sore throat, headache, chills, and muscle aches.
People who catch the flu are usually sick for a couple of days,
but some get sicker and must be hospitalized. According to the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “flu causes about
36,000 deaths a year in the United States, mostly among the elderly.”
Also according to CDC, so the flu season peaks in winter, so
a December shot will protect in the most dangerous season.
The flu shot is an inactivated influenza vaccine, according
to the CDC. Since the flu virus mutates often, the vaccine
every year, and a yearly flu shot is necessary.. There is still
a chance, after getting the vaccine, to get a minor case of the
flu, but it’s usually milder than that experienced by those
who choose not to get the vaccine. According to the CDC, it should
take about two weeks before the vaccine takes effect and for
the protection to be developed. Protection against the flu can
last up to a year.
Annual flu shots are recommended for everyone over the age
of 50 and everyone who has a long-term health problem such
or kidney disease or asthma. Also, anyone with a weakened immune
system – people with HIV, AIDS, or cancer--should get an
annual flu shot. Pregnant women and healthy children from 6 to
23 months, and their caretakers; physicians, nurses, and anyone
who could come into close contact with anyone at risk of a serious
flu should get a flu shot.
So should students. Anyone living in dormitories or in crowded
conditions or attending class in crowded classrooms should get
a flu shot. It’s easy to catch the flu when around many
others. It’s like the domino effect: once one person gets
the flu, it’s only a matter of time before everyone starts
So, be on the safe side get a flu shot.
Editor’s note: The CDC suggests that anyone who is feverish
or seriously ill on the day a flu shot is scheduled should reschedule
until after they recover.
For more information call the CDC at 1-800-232-2522, or visit