Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. It’d certainly be a shame to miss all that crisp weather and gorgeous scenery because of influenza.
The highly contagious virus affects the respiratory system, causing fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. It is an annual scourge, changing a bit every season so even though you may have had influenza several years ago, you can catch it again.
The flu is preventable
The good news is that influenza (flu) is preventable. While everyday hygiene habits like washing your hands and avoiding close contact with those who are sick are always important, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin recommends the flu vaccine as the best way to avoid getting infected.
Influenza infection will make anyone feel pretty miserable, but some people can get seriously ill. Infants, the elderly, and anyone with ongoing medical problems are most vulnerable to complications that can result in hospitalization, pneumonia or even death. The CDC reported that there were at least 105 flu-related deaths in children last flu season.
Flu season is inherently unpredictable. Typically, it begins in late fall, peaks in January and February, and may last until late spring. Here is some information to
Who should be vaccinated for the flu?
All individuals over 6 months of age — with rare exceptions — should be vaccinated. Unfortunately, the vaccine is not effective in infants younger than 6 months..
FAQs about the flu vaccine
- Is the flu vaccine safe? The vaccine is safe and effective. Remember that it is always important to openly discuss any concerns about vaccines with your health care provider.
- Does the vaccine contain mercury? Most brands of flu vaccine do not contain any mercury. When it is present, it is in the form of thimerosal, a preservative. Research has shown that thimerosal does not cause developmental conditions like autism.
- Can the vaccine give my child influenza? No. While there may be some side effects, including flulike symptoms — and it is possible for some people who get the vaccine to still come down with the flu — the vaccine itself does not result in influenza.
Learn more about the flu vaccine
If you have more questions about the flu vaccine, be sure to ask your doctor. You can also visit these websites:
Learn more about Emilee Yamdagni, MD.