by Clare Kasper, MD
Last week was National Influenza Vaccine Week spreading the message that there’s still time to protect yourself and your family from influenza illness this year. However, the sooner the better because the peak of disease activity is typically from December to March, and it takes about 2 weeks for the vaccine to become effective!
Every year a few of the same concerns come up when discussing the flu vaccine:
“I never get sick so why do I need the vaccine?”
– Even healthy adults and children are at risk of catching the flu and developing serious disease that can lead to death.
– Getting the vaccine also helps to protect your friends and family, especially during a season of frequent family gatherings.
“I got the vaccine but it didn’t work because I still got sick!”
– It is still possible to get the flu despite having the vaccine, however your symptoms are usually less severe and of shorter duration.
– In the winter season there are many different viruses being passed around that can cause similar symptoms, and unfortunately there are no vaccines for these other causes.
“Why do I need to get it every year?”
– Influenza viruses are constantly changing and spreading throughout the world, so the vaccine is changed each year to protect against those types that are predicted to cause the most disease each season.
– Your immune response decreases over time and is boosted each year when you get the vaccine to provide better protection.
Vaccines are available near you:
1. Pediatric News
2. CDC NIVW Key Messages
3. CDC Esimated Influenza 2015-16
Link to top image: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/images/nivw/cdc-fight-flu.png
Flu vaccine finder widget: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/widgets.htm#VaccineFinder