Flu Season Is Now!

The Miami Herald has a good rundown of the upcoming flu season and suggestions for how to best approach it. Although last year’s season was relatively mild, that is not a guarantee for the future. Act now to get full protection and avoid hassles later on., especially if you are in the high risk groups.

Excerpted below are some key sections from the article below, including an FAQ. Follow the link below for the full information.

“Last year was one of the mildest flu seasons on record, said Dr. Lisa Grohskopf, a medical officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza division. But she says consumers shouldn’t get complacent; the CDC still recommends everyone older than 6 months be vaccinated.

Q: Do I need to be vaccinated against the flu?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone age 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine. Those who most need immunization: seniors age 65 and older, pregnant women, patients with certain medical conditions, caregivers of patients who develop serious complications from contracting the flu.

Q: How does a flu shot work?

A: Seasonal influenza vaccines combine inactive strains of three flu viruses. The formula, when injected, encourages your immune system to build antibodies that fight infection. The vaccine works against the three most commonly circulating flu viruses: influenza B, the H1N1 A strain and the H3N2 A strain.

Q: Do I really need a vaccine every year?

A: Yes. That’s because public health officials annually look at which flu viruses will be most prevalent, then set a vaccine formula designed to thwart those particular strains. So the formula can change from year to year. The 2012-13 vaccine cocktail is different from last year’s, meaning you could be unprotected if you skip this year’s shot.

Q: What about children?

A: Children age 6 months through 8 years who never have been immunized for flu will need two shots, four weeks apart. The CDC also is advising that children this age who did not receive at least one dose of the 2010-2011 vaccine, or for whom its not certain they were immunized in 2010-2011, should receive two doses of the 2011-2012 seasonal vaccine. Ask your doctor for details.”