The Centers for Disease Control recommends the seasonal flu vaccine for everyone over six months of age. The vaccine, which has a proven safety record, reduces your risk of needing treatment for flu by 60 percent, which means less illness, less overuse of antibiotics, and a lower risk of needing ER treatment for flu complications. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting the flu vaccine, and keep these facts in mind.
How Is the Flu Vaccine Administered?
The flu vaccine can be administered via an injection or nasal spray. Pediatric patients often receive the nasal spray to quell fears about needles, but adults can choose that method as well. If you get the injection, the shot will be delivered in the upper arm.
When Should You Get the Flu Vaccine?
The best time is get the vaccine is as soon as it is available at your hospital or medical center, which is usually in the early fall. However, if you have waited until mid-winter and still haven’t gotten a flu shot, don’t assume that it is too late. The flu can continue to spread well into May, so the vaccine can still offer protection. If you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, or otherwise have a higher risk of having complications from the flu, the earlier you get your shot, the better. Remember that you need a flu shot every year as the vaccine is adapted to protect against the strains of flu most common that season.
Can the Flu Vaccine Make You Sick?
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The virus in the vaccine is dead and cannot cause infection. Potential side effects from the vaccine include soreness or swelling at the injection site or runny nose and wheezing with the nasal spray. If you experience signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives or difficulty breathing, go to the ER right away.
If you need a flu shot, contact your Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center physician. Our Thousand Oaks hospital provides a comprehensive range of healthcare services, including ER care and a heart hospital. Call our hospital at (805) 497-2727 to learn more.