Get Your Flu Shot!
Time to Get Your Flu Shot!
It is flu season and time to get your flu shot. The flu (or influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The illness can be mild to severe, sometimes resulting in death. Individuals who are at higher risk for complications include those with asthma; chronic lung diseases such as COPD and cystic fibrosis; sickle cell disease; diabetes; neurological diseases such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, stroke, and muscular dystrophy; heart disease; cancer; kidney disorders; liver disorders; HIV; and metabolic disorders.
With over 3 million cases of the flu every year in the United States, you’re very likely to come in contact with someone who is carrying the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the peak months for influenza are October through March. You should get the flu vaccination as early as possible, preferably in October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, you can get the vaccination, even in January or later. In fact, while flu outbreaks happen as early as October, flu activity usually peaks in January or later. It is best to get vaccinated before the flu begins spreading in your community. The CDC recommends a flu vaccine every year for everyone 6 months of age and older, even if you were vaccinated the previous year. You will not get the flu from the flu vaccine.
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called trivalent vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses – an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called quadrivalent vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus. The flu vaccine will prevent most cases of the flu. However, if you do get the flu after you’ve been vaccinated, your symptoms will be milder with less chance of serious complications.
Flu shots are available to all students at the Georgia State University Student Health Clinic. For more information, call the Student Health Clinic at 404-413-1930 and ask to speak to a nurse.