health-ministryFlu vaccination coverage estimates from past years have shown that influenza vaccination activity drops quickly after the end of November.

* Even though the holiday season has arrived, it is not too late to get your flu vaccine.
* As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season in order to provide protection against the flu.

 Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with one flu virus, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).

Misconceptions about Flu Vaccines

Can a flu shot give you the flu?

 No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine). The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur.

Flu Vaccination for People at High Risk

Another goal of NIVW is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk for developing flu related complications.

People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.

For people at high risk, getting the flu can mean developing serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, or a worsening of existing health conditions, which can lead to hospitalization or death.

Most people who get the flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more likely to get illness that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death.

Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by flu. List below are the groups of people who are more likely to get serious flu-related complications if they get sick with influenza.

People at High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications

 Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
 Adults 65 years of age and older
 Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
 Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities(
 Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of flu complications

People who have medical conditions including:

 Asthma
 Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and musclesuch as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury].
 Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
 Heart (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
 Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
 Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes)
 Kidney disorders
 Liver disorders
 Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
 Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)
 People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
 People with extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or more)/

There is no recommendation for pregnant women or people with pre-existing medical conditions to get special permission or written consent from their doctor or health care professional for influenza vaccination if they get vaccinated at a worksite clinic, pharmacy or other location outside of their physician’s office.

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