Flu Season Is Here! Flu Season Is Here!
Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a yearly flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response. Get vaccinated now so that you will be protected all season long!

Now that kids are back in school and the leaves are starting to change, that’s usually a good indication that flu season is just around the corner. By getting a flu vaccine now for yourself and your entire family, you can help prevent flu-related illness, missed school, and missed work.

The best way to protect against influenza is to get a flu vaccine every flu season. Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Anyone can get the flu, and getting a flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your family. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends and loved ones.

Everyone Needs a Flu Vaccine While flu activity usually peaks in January or February, the flu itself is unpredictable. And although there are many different flu viruses, the yearly flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common that flu season.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each flu season, and it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:

Pregnant women Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old People 50 years of age and older People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including: Health care workers Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

For a complete list of all people recommended for flu vaccination, as well as those who are not recommended for flu vaccination, visit Who Should Get Vaccinated.

Get a Flu Vaccine Every Flu Season

People should get vaccinated every year for two reasons. The first reason is that because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses.

The second reason that yearly vaccination is recommended is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time so annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection. So, yearly vaccination is recommended even for those who received the vaccine during the previous season.

A Reminder for Parents

Many children need two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected. Children 6 months to 9 years of age who did not receive at least one dose of the 2010-11 flu vaccine should receive two doses this season.

Vaccine Options

So what are your vaccine options? There are two types of vaccines- the flu shot and the nasal spray.

The "flu shot" — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is (sometimes called TIV for "Trivalent Inactivated Vaccine") approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

There are three different flu shots available: a regular flu shot approved for people ages 6 months and older a high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older, and an intradermal flu shot approved for people 18 to 64 years of age. The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for "Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine"). The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine do not cause the flu. LAIV is approved for use in healthy* people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant. Where to Get Vaccinated

If you’re thinking that getting your flu vaccine is an inconvenience because it is hard to find, think again. Flu vaccine shipments began in August and ample supplies are available in many convenient locations. See your doctor or nurse to get the flu vaccine, or seek out other locations where vaccine is being offered, such as pharmacies, health departments, grocery stores and many others. The flu clinic locator is also a useful tool for finding vaccine in your area.