The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year.
Gardner HealthMart Pharmacy offers immunizations for Flu, Pneumonia, Hepatitis, Shingles, Tetanus, and more. Our pharmacist are specially trained and certified to administer immunizations and can provide flu shots to anyone age 6 and older. No appointment is necessary. We have a comfortable and private immunization room to make the experience as pleasant as can be expected when getting a shot. Our vaccines are given with TLC and rarely, if ever, do we see a tear!
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Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. CDC estimates that flu-related hospitalizations since 2010 ranged from 140,000 to 710,000, while flu-related deaths are estimated to have ranged from 12,000 to 56,000. During flu season, flu viruses circulate at higher levels in the U.S. population. (“Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.) An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.
Flu vaccination should begin soon after vaccine becomes available, by the end of October, if possible. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even in January or later. While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, during most seasons influenza activity peaks in January or later. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is best that people get vaccinated so they are protected before influenza begins spreading in their community.
Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, and the timing of availability depends on when production is completed. Shipments began in August and will continue throughout October and November until all vaccine is distributed.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.
Children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu shot.
People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.
There are additional considerations for those that should and shout not get vaccinated. For more information visit Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza on the CDC website.
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called “trivalent” vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.
The information on this page is derived from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information please visit the Influenza (Flu) section of the CDC website. Gardner HealthMart Pharmacy is also available to answer your questions. Please give us a call at 913-856-8106.