This year, the flu season in the United States has been particularly bad, with record numbers of people hospitalized from complication. Even if you or your child hasn’t managed to get a flu vaccination yet, don’t let that stop you. Although it takes a few weeks for the flu vaccine to take full effect, being immunized can still help protect you and your family.
Talk with your family doctor or pediatrician about vaccinating your children and yourself, even late in the flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists children and the elderly as among the most vulnerable for complications from the flu virus, but don’t neglect to get a flu shot yourself – you are a vital part of your family. It’s important for you to get a flu shot too, because even if you are healthy and think you could handle the flu without too many problems, if you develop influenza, you can infect others, particularly those who cannot be vaccinated because of age or health problems.
Statistics show that the flu can be very dangerous
It’s getting to be springtime, but we’re not yet out of the woods with the flu.
Each year since 2010, the flu has caused between 9.2 million to 35.6 million illnesses; 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations; and 12,000 to 56,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are still reports in the media about emergency room admissions for complications from influenza, with certain states particularly hit hard.
How late is too late for a flu shot?
In the Unites States, and around the Northern Hemisphere, influenza activity generally peaks between January and February. It is recommended that doctors continue vaccinating their patients all the way through spring, May included. Of course, this depends on the availability of flu vaccine; in some seasons, low or depleted stock of vaccine posed problems for people seeking ‘late’ vaccination. It’s true that vaccines do have an expiration date, and most injectable flu vaccine is stamped with a June 30 expiration date.
Typically, the fall and winter months make up what is known as “flu season,” but it’s always flu season in some part of the world. If you are traveling to parts of the world where flu season occurs April through September, your doctor may recommend that you get a vaccination if you have not already had one for the winter season.
Children’s Health Care of Massachusetts (CHC Mass) was the nation’s first community health center to open its doors in Boston, providing health services for low and moderate-income people in the inner-city areas, and isolated rural communities. Child-centered and family-focused, Children’s Health Care is your family’s partner in health, providing compassionate and personalized care for your child.
If you have questions about the flu vaccine, or about influenza and how it can affect your child’s health and the health of your entire family, contact Children’s Health Care of Massachusetts for more information about how you can partner with CHC to help your child achieve stay healthy and well.