Even though autumn has barely approached on the horizon, public health officials are already preparing for the 2018 flu season. Last year's flu season ranked among one of the most severe on record, and although we don't know that this flu season will be as serious, it's best to prepare in advance.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone over the age of 6 months should be immunized before Halloween.
This year, most pediatricians and doctor officers are offering both the flu vaccine and the FluMist. Although the FluMist has not been recommended over the past few years, the CDC has approved it for the 2018-2019 season. If you're not sure which option is best suited for you and your family, discuss it with your healthcare provider.
Children and the elderly are especially at risk once flu season rolls around. Last year, 179 children died and thousands more were hospitalized due to flu-related illnesses. Statistics from the CDC show that 80 percent of the children who died had not received a flu vaccination. Although no flu vaccine is 100 percent effective, it is a smart move to protect your family from severe flu symptoms and other complications like pneumonia.
Keep in mind that it takes about two weeks for the antibodies in the flu vaccine to start providing protection. That's why it's smart to get vaccinated in September before flu season is in full swing. The sooner you get your family immunized, the better.
Not sure where to get your flu shot? Check out this CDC "Flu Vaccine Finder" to locate a provider near you.