The weather is turning cooler, and unfortunately that means flu season is right around the corner. It’s time to get your yearly flu shot! Here’s what you need to know…
The 2017-18 Flu Season Was Record Breaking
Last year’s flu season came early, lasted longer than usual and hit harder than usual, setting records for flu-related deaths and hospitalizations in the U.S. In a report released on August 31, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that last year’s flu-related hospitalization rates were the highest ever recorded in its flu surveillance system.
Sadly, it was also a record-breaking year for the number of flu-related pediatric deaths. The CDC reports that 180 children died of the flu last season, “the highest number of flu-associated deaths in children reported during a regular flu season.” The report also showed that “about 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination.”
These statistics are a stark reminder of why it’s important to receive the flu vaccine every year. Getting vaccinated provides you with the best chance of avoiding the flu. And even if you do still get sick after being vaccinated, your illness will be much less severe. A study published just last month in the journal Vaccine showed that flu vaccination reduced the risk of being admitted to an ICU with flu by 82%.
Who should – and shouldn’t – receive the flu vaccine?
The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu each year. The only exception to this is people who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past, or who are known to have a severe allergy to any of the vaccine’s components. For those who have an egg allergy, it’s important to note that an egg-free flu vaccine is available for people ages 18 and older.
When is the best time to get vaccinated for the flu?
It’s best to be vaccinated against the flu as early as possible each flu season. If the flu season hits early and hard (as it did last year), you’ll be protected. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, as flu typically begins to spread beginning in November.
Where can you get the flu vaccine?
You can visit your primary care provider for a flu shot. If you don’t have a primary care provider or can’t get an appointment that’s convenient for you, you can get the flu vaccine at any PhysicianOne Urgent Care center. (Children must be at least three years old to receive the vaccine at PhysicianOne centers in Massachusetts and New York, and at least five years old for locations in Connecticut). We’re open 365 days a year, and no appointment is necessary. You can find a PhysicianOne Urgent Care Center near you and view hours here.