The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent this illness is by getting a flu vaccination each fall. The Cooke Health and Wellness Center has been providing immunizations since 2007 as directed by the Center for Disease Control. We anticipate that vaccination will begin in October of this year. The flu vaccine will be available to all adult students, staff, faculty, alumni and public, while supplies last.
Every year in the United States, on average:
Some people, such as older people, young children and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
Complications of Flu
Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections.
How Flu Spreads
Flu viruses spread in respiratory droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. They usually spread from person to person, though sometimes people become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick. That means that you can pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
Preventing the Flu: Get Vaccinated
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each fall. There are two types of vaccines:
About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against influenza-like illnesses caused by other viruses.
When to Get Vaccinated
October or November is the best time to get vaccinated, but getting vaccinated in December or even later can still be beneficial. Flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. People who should get vaccinated each year are:
1. People at high risk for complications from the flu:
2. People 50 to 64 years of age. Because nearly one-third of people 50 to 64 years of age in the United States have one or more medical conditions that place them at increased risk for serious flu complications, vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 50 to 64.
3. People who can transmit flu to others at high risk for complications. Any person in close contact with someone in a high-risk group (see above) should get vaccinated. This includes all health-care workers, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children 6 to 23 months of age, and close contacts of people 65 years and older.
Who Should Not Be Vaccinated
If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your health-care provider.
Information obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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