Don’t let the warm temperatures fool you – flu season will be here before you know it. The best way to protect against influenza is to get a flu vaccine before the season starts. This is true even if you were vaccinated last season. Health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every year.
That’s because flu can be very serious – every year in Massachusetts, an average of 5,000 residents are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, resulting in up to 800 deaths. The good news is that many of these hospitalizations and deaths are preventable. You and your family can stay healthy this season by getting vaccinated.
This is especially important if you or someone in your family:
- Is pregnant
- Has a chronic health condition like asthma, diabetes, or heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease
- Is immuno-suppressed
- Is very overweight
- Is 50 years of age or older.
Flu vaccination is also especially important for children younger than 5 years of age, who are at higher risk of serious flu complications if they get the flu. For the same reason, if you’re a caregiver or household contact of children less than five years old it’s important that you get vaccinated as well.
The flu vaccine is safe and effective, and widely available. To get a flu vaccine, you can:
- Call your health care provider
- Contact your local health department
- Check with your local pharmacy
- Visit the Massachusetts Flu Clinic Finder for a list of flu clinics near you.
Think you’ve got a clue when it comes to the flu? Take the Flu I.Q. quiz and find out!
For more information about influenza, flu vaccine, and other ways that you and your family can stay healthy this flu season, please visit www.mass.gov/flu or call the Immunization Program at (617) 983-6800.