Staying Flu-Free on Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week encourages flu vaccination awareness

(RxWiki News) Have you gotten your flu shot yet? It may be the best way to keep yourself flu-free this season, experts say.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there's no better time to stop by a local clinic, pharmacy or doctor's office to get vaccinated than this week, National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 7 to 13.

Several local, state and federal agencies, including the CDC and the US Department of Health and Human Services, are using this week to reach out to people who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu.

"The best protection we have from the influenza virus, and to help prevent spreading the flu from person to person, is the flu vaccine," said Steve Leuck, PharmD, founder of AudibleRx, in an interview with dailyRx News. "If you have not yet received your annual vaccination, please consider visiting a pharmacy and receiving one today."

The flu is a common, seasonal virus that often first strikes in the fall and peaks in the late winter months. Symptoms include fever, aches, runny nose, sore throat and chills.

Although the flu normally clears up in about a week, complications like dehydration and pneumonia can make it a dangerous illness. This is especially true for young children, seniors and people with existing chronic health problems like asthma.

All adults and children 6 months old or older should get a flu shot each year, says the US Advisory Committee on Vaccination Practices.

The vaccine is available as a shot or as a nasal spray. According to the CDC, nearly 140 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed throughout the US this year.

Frequent hand-washing and staying home from work or school when feeling sick can also prevent the spread of the flu. Also, parents can remind their children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.

Patients should speak to their doctors about whether the flu shot is right for them before getting vaccinated.

Review Date: 
December 5, 2014