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Influenza Vaccination Week: Key Facts You Should Know

medical personnel extracting vaccine using injection

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 960,000 people were hospitalized during the 2017-2018 season. While flu activity in the United States is now low, it is expected to pick up in the upcoming weeks.

In honor of Influenza Vaccination Week this December 8, Lowenhill Home Care Services lists some important flu vaccine facts that you should keep in mind:

What is the flu?
Also known as influenza, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness which is caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. The Flu is different from a cold. People who get the flu often get some or all of these symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Feverish/chills
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Fever*

Note: Not everyone with flu may have a fever. Also, some people may experience diarrhea and vomiting but this is more common in children than adults.

Why is it important?
Most people experience a mild illness when they get the flu. However, in some cases, it can be serious – and even deadly. Serious flu-related complications are more likely to occur in babies and young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic conditions.

To lower your chances of getting the flu, getting vaccinated each year is highly important. Remember, getting the flu vaccine doesn’t just protect you – it protects the people around you too. So, when you and your family get a flu vaccine, you are keeping yourselves and your community healthy.

Who are at risk?
Everyone, even healthy people, can get sick with the flu. Serious flu-related complications can affect people of all ages; however, some people are at a higher risk of developing serious complications. This includes seniors (aged 65 years and older), pregnant women, children below 5 years old, and people of any age with certain chronic health conditions.

Are there any side effects from the flu vaccine? What are they?
Any vaccine can cause side effects – and this is true for flu vaccines as well. For the most part, flu vaccine side effects are mild and can go away in a few days. Some of its side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Upset stomach
  • Redness, pain, or swelling (at the injection site)

Note: This is NOT the flu – the flu vaccine can’t cause the flu.

While serious side effects from the flu vaccine are rare, there’s a small chance that serious reactions can occur. In such cases, make sure to talk to your doctor immediately.

Keep these facts in mind and stay safe during the flu season. Remember, getting the flu shot doesn’t just protect you – it protects your loved ones and community too. If you haven’t had your flu shot yet for this year, make sure to get it soon!