Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons over the age of 6 months who do not have a medical reason why they should not be vaccinated. Pregnant women should receive age-appropriate influenza vaccine. Children aged 6 months through 8 years who require 2 doses should receive their first dose as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available, and the second dose 4 weeks later. Vaccination should occur before the start of flu activity in the community.
Flu vaccines have a limited effective time. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends having your flu shot in October to be sure it is effective through the entire flu season. Vaccinations will be available as long as influenza viruses are active and vaccine is available. The 2017 – 2018 flu vaccines are expected to be highly effective.
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold and the symptoms are more intense. The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu and people with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
Take action to prevent the flu!
Get vaccinated, sneeze into a tissue, wash your hands, stay home until your fever has been gone for 24 hours, disinfect surfaces and objects. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are spread this way.