The flu, also known as influenza, is a viral infection that lands more than 200,000 people in the hospital each year. Characterized by sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, fever, chills, body aches, and sometimes headache, the flu is more than just a common cold and must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional. It’s also possible for patients to experience some (but not all) of these symptoms.
When is Flu Season?
In the United States, flu season typically begins in October and ends in May. The peak time for influenza activity is between December and February.
Is the Flu Serious?
While most people who receive proper care will recover from influenza within two weeks, it’s possible for complications to develop that can be life threatening. Pneumonia, heart failure, or other serious complications can be triggered by the flu—especially in people with a history of asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. For this reason, it’s recommended that people at a high risk of these complications receive a flu shot annually.
Who Should Get the Flu Shot?
Ideally, everyone over the age of six months should receive a flu shot. However, the most important populations include: young children, people over 65 years of age, pregnant women, and people of any age who have chronic medical conditions or who frequently interact with these vulnerable populations (such as teachers, medical professionals, and retirement home staff and volunteers).
Do Some People Need More than One Flu Shot?
Yes, young children (between the ages of 6 months to 8 years) will need two doses of the vaccine with appropriate wait time in between.
Why is The Flu Vaccine Needed Annually?
Each year brings a new strain of the influenza virus. Because the virus changes so much each year, the vaccine must be adjusted in order to provide effective protection against the illness.
How Long Does It Take for the Flu Vaccine to Be Effective?
It typically takes two weeks for enough antibodies to develop in the body to protect against the flu virus.
Is My Flu Shot Covered by Health Insurance?
Flu shots generally are covered by medicare, Medicaid, and many insurance providers without a copay required.
Even if you’re not at a high risk for fatality due to influenza complications, getting a flu shot is still a good idea. Not only can the shot prevent you from suffering unnecessarily, but staying healthy also protects those around you from contracting the dangerous virus. Flu vaccines are easily accessible to anyone who wants it—and can even be administered at your local Wiley’s pharmacy! There’s really no reason not to protect yourself and your family from influenza this year. Reach out to your local Wiley’s pharmacy to schedule your flu shot and stay protected during flu season.