Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by influenza viruses. Flu can cause mild to severe illness, including hospitalization and death. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) states than an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter. This ranks the 2017-18 season as the deadliest since 1976. In addition, there were an estimated 900,00 hospitalizations last flu season.
The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older with a licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine. At Allergy & Clinical Immunology, we have appropriate flu vaccine for every age group. It is especially important for our patients to receive a yearly flu shot. People with chronic health conditions, including asthma and immune deficiencies, are at an increased risk of developing more serious complications from the flu. In addition, people over the age of 65 and children younger than 5 are also at a higher risk of developing flu-related complications.
Now is the time to get your flu shot. Flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. Though the exact timing and duration of flu season varies from year to year, according to the CDC, influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May. It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus. Therefore, it is recommended by the CDC to receive your flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial, even into January and February.
Patients of our practice do not need to make appointments to get their flu shot. We give flu vaccines during our normal injection hours. We will also give you a flu shot during your scheduled office visit appointment. For those patients who receive allergy injections, we can give you a flu shot on the same day, after you complete the required 30 minute wait time after allergy shots.