Health officials are urging everyone especially people over the age of 65 years to get the influenza (FLU) vaccine. It is reported by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that people over the age of 65 are more susceptible to getting the flu. It is more dangerous for a person who is 65 years to get the flu because their immunity is weak compared to the immunity of a 6 year old. The influenza season began in October and ends in May.
It has been reported by the CDC that 90 percent of deaths during a typical flu season occur in people older than 65. It was also reported that flu vaccination rates remained steady with that of previous years, with about 128 million people getting the shot during last year's flu season, which consisted of about 42 percent of the U.S. population.
“It’s not too late to get a flu shot,” said Katie Wichman, a community health nurse at the Health Department. “Although reported cases of influenza have been reported in the U.S, it is important that we get vaccinated”.
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention highlights that Americans often mistakenly believe that the influenza vaccine does not work. However, the influenza vaccine is 100 percent effective, and is considered the best way to maintain good health. An article on the CDC website notes that the influenza vaccine is effective according to the individual who is getting vaccinated, the viruses that are in the shot, and the viruses that are circulating in the air.
“It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against influenza infection,” said Wichman, “so go get vaccinated now if you haven’t done so already.”
The influenza vaccine is given to prevent infection. Antibodies are injected into the body and work to fight against the virus that is circulating in the air. The shot protects against three viruses: Influenza B virus, Influenza A virus (H1N1) and Influenza A virus (H3N2).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that influenza and pneumonia are the eighth-leading cause of death in the United States with about 28,000 flu-associated deaths occurring each year. The number of flu-related sicknesses in the U.S is increasing sharply.
With the holiday season closely approaching, the CDC offered several tips to avoid getting the flu. They recommend the following tips:
1. Get Vaccinated
2. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds
3. Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
4. If you are sick, stay home
Finding a location to get vaccinated is not difficult. Anyone can get vaccinated at a local health clinic, doctor's office, pharmacy, and for students, at a college health center. The flu shot is free for those who have insurance. For those who do not have insurance, the cost of a flu shot can range from as low as $21 to $31.