Influenza (flu) vaccines are updated every year to attack the viruses that are spreading during that particular season.
Medical professionals recommend that everyone six months of age or older should receive a flu shot.
For the first time in the United States, there is a vaccine available that can protect you against four different flu viruses, topping last year's three. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone four years of age or older can receive can receive this vaccine. (FLUCELVAX™)
Due to the questions that came up about how well the nasal spray (live attenuated influenza vaccine—LAIV) was actually working, the CDC is recommending only injectable flu shots this season.
Due to possibly weakened immune systems, people 65 years of age or older can receive a high-dosage shot made with adjuvant, a substance in the vaccine that helps to increase the body's immunity to disease. The vaccine is called FLUAD™.
No matter what time of year it is, the CDC says it's never too late to get a vaccination. However, you should take extra precaution if you are pregnant, have any sort of serious medical condition, live in a nursing home or are a health care professional. Anyone who fits any of these categories is at a higher risk of flu complications and should seriously consider getting the vaccine.
Staying healthy is crucial this time of year, especially from the end of November to the beginning of March, which is considered to be the peak of flu season. The CDC recommends washing your hands as much as possible, staying away from people who are sick, and always cough or sneeze into your elbow as opposed to your hand or straight into the air. Also try not to touch your face and disinfect any surfaces you may be touching that could have germs.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: fatigue, fever, headache, nausea, stuffy nose, a dry cough or a sore throat, you may already have it. Always seek a medical professional's opinion if you think the respiratory disease has entered your body. And remember: it's never too late to get a flu shot.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.