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Get a flu shot now – for your benefit and your neighbors



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(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source for news, analysis and commentary by academic experts.)

Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Columbia University Medical Center


(THE TALK) If you do not do anything else in the next few days, you'll get a flu shot

The best time to get a flu shot is at the end of October, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention advises. Given the severity of the flu last year, it is particularly important that all be vaccinated over six months. This includes pregnant women.

Last year's flu killed 80,000 people, the CDC reported, making it the deadliest flu epidemic in decades. In addition, about 71

0,000 people were hospitalized because of this.

On October 6, 2018, 183 of these deaths were in children, the CDC reported. In addition, there was already a pediatrics this current flu season. And 80 percent of the children who died last year along with the recent deaths of children were not vaccinated.


They play an important role in controlling the spread of the flu, not only for yourself but for others as well. As a doctor and health professional who has treated many people with flu, I explain why.

Protecting, protecting others

The flu vaccine has proven to be one of the most important preventive measures against the flu. Although vaccine efficacy may vary – and last year's rate was about 40 percent low – it still meant that the flu vaccine reduced a person's overall risk of seeking medical care in a flu doctor's surgery by 40 percent. However, given the severity of the disease, you need the protection you can get.

And the vaccine reduces the severity and possible complications of your disease if you get the flu. A large study of patients hospitalized during the 2013-2014 flu season, published in 2017, found that vaccinated adults died 52 to 79 percent less frequently than unvaccinated patients. In other words, a patient with hospitalized influenza who was not vaccinated died two to five times more often than someone who had been vaccinated.

Almost everyone can get the flu vaccine. Exceptions are babies younger than six months and people who have serious reactions to the flu vaccine, such as anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction.


Some people get hives, but this is not considered a serious reaction. If you are one of these people, it is still okay for you to get a flu shot from standard providers. Even those who have a serious egg allergy can get the flu vaccine in a medical setting.

The vaccine is not only good for you but also for the larger community. About 70 percent of the population needs to get the flu vaccine to make sure what we call herd immunity
"This happens when a critical part of a community is immunized against a contagious disease.

When this happens, most members of the community, including those who are not vaccinated, are protected against this disease because there are few opportunities for one Outbreaks Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines receive some protection as the spread of contagious diseases is curbed, which can effectively prevent the spread of disease in the community.

You may even consider taking the vaccine

Other Things To Know

While the vaccine has proven to be one of the best preventive measures against the flu, you can also do other things. "Wash your hands." If you cough or sneeze, Cover your mouth or nose with your sleeve, not with your hands, avoid the one n who are ill. Stay home when you are ill.

Antiviral drugs can help you feel better when you get the flu, but you need to get started early. Call your health care provider when the symptoms begin.

A new, higher dose vaccine is available for the elderly. If you are 65 years or older, ask your doctor about it. About 54 to 70 percent of hospitalizations for influenza occur in people over 65 years of age. No matter what formulation you receive, it's important that you get vaccinated. Do not miss the opportunity.

Remember that the vaccine does not cause flu. That's because vaccines are made today with killed viruses. A killed virus can not infect anyone. If you hear someone had symptoms after the vaccine, it may be because he was exposed to influenza before the vaccine.

Even if you do not come to your doctor or pharmacy by the end of October, you should still get the flu vaccine. While the best immunity is conferred when you receive the vaccine earlier, you will be protected.

And remember, even if it's not a perfect match, it can save you and your loved ones from becoming potentially life-threatening and yet preventable, illness.

Good advice: Stay at home if you have the flu. Better advice: Get the flu vaccine!

Editor's Note: This is an updated version of an article originally published on October 23, 2016.

This article is published by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: http://theconversation.com/get-a-flu-shot-now-for-your-benefit-and-your-neighbors-105340.



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