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Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?

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Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?

The flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness that can range from mild to severe. While it might seem like just a bad cold for some, it can be life-threatening for others, particularly those with certain health conditions or age factors. Annual flu vaccines are the most effective way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others. But who should get this vaccine?

All Are Welcome, But Some Are Highly Encouraged

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. However, it's particularly important for some groups who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get sick with the flu. These include:

Older adults: People 65 years and older are at high risk because the immune system weakens.

Young children: Especially those younger than two years old. Their immune systems are not fully developed, making them more susceptible to the flu.

Pregnant women: Pregnancy changes the immune system, heart, and lungs, making expecting mothers more prone to severe illness from the flu.

People with chronic medical conditions: This includes asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and obesity. These conditions can weaken the immune system, making the person more susceptible to severe illness.

The Importance of the Flu Vaccine

Protection for yourself and others

The flu vaccine protects you from getting infected and reduces the severity of the illness if you do get sick. By getting vaccinated, you also protect those around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.

Prevention of severe outcomes

The flu can lead to hospitalization, intensive care, or even death. Vaccination has been shown to significantly reduce a child's risk of dying from influenza. For adults, it's been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease.

Reduction in the severity of illness

Even if you get the flu after vaccination, the illness is likely to be milder than if you hadn't been vaccinated. This can significantly decrease the risk of severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.

Contribution to herd immunity

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, making its spread from person to person unlikely. By getting vaccinated, you are contributing to herd immunity, protecting those who cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons.

Get Vaccinated at Antelope Valley Medical Center

While everyone above six months should ideally get the flu vaccine, it's vital for those at high risk. Speak with the providers at Antelope Valley Medical Center to learn more about the vaccine and to get yours today.

Remember, the best time to get the flu vaccine is before flu viruses start to spread in your community, typically by the end of October. Call us at (661) 949-5000 for more information.