It’s Not Too Late — Vaccinate
AmeriHealth Caritas shares what you need to know about the flu vaccine
Flu season shows no signs of abating. In fact, it’s reached widespread levels in 49 states and Puerto Rico according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But this doesn’t mean it’s too late to protect yourself and your family with a flu shot.
"The flu shot should be an expectation and not just a recommendation," said Dr. Andrea Gelzer, Chief Medical Officer of AmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in health care solutions for those in need. "Just like we apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn, the flu shot is our best defense against the flu virus."
Here are some common questions about the flu shot:
Is it too late to get the flu shot?
No. Flu season is far from over. Each flu season is different, but flu activity typically peaks between December and February and can last as late as May. As of late January 2018, flu activity continues to increase.
Can I catch the flu from the flu shot?
No. You cannot catch the flu from the flu shot. The shot may be made up from a part of the flu virus that has been killed and cannot infect you, or it may not contain any part of the virus. The shot is safe for adults and children older than six months of age.
Can I have a reaction?
Yes. But severe life-threatening reactions are rare. The shot may contain egg components, which are used in manufacturing. If you have an egg allergy, it can make you sick. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about possible reactions or have had reactions to the flu vaccine before.
How often do I need a flu shot?
Each year, different strains of the flu are more common. The shot is updated every year to protect against the most common versions of the flu for that season.
Who should get a flu shot?
Most people should get the flu shot. For some people, it is especially important. People who are at high risk or have certain health problems need to get a flu shot each year.
People at high risk for the flu include:
- Pregnant women.
- Children younger than two years of age and their caregivers. (Children younger than six months of age are too young to get a flu shot.)
- Adults older than age 65.
- People who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.
Adults and children who have the following health problems are at risk of severe complications from the flu:
- Long-term lung problems or problems that make it harder to breathe.
- Heart problems (except high blood pressure).
- Kidney disease.
- Liver, blood, or metabolic problems.
- Sickle cell disease.
- Severe obesity.
- Adults and children who have weak immune systems caused by medicines or HIV.
For more information
Contact your primary care provider or pharmacy about getting a flu shot. Depending on the state, a pharmacy may not be able to administer vaccines to children under a certain age.