Four Flu Shot Facts

1. November is not too late.

Many people get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available in October, but even after the first rush is over, getting a flu shot is still worthwhile, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on their Seasonal Influenza website:

“CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as vaccine becomes available in their community, but vaccination can take place at any time throughout the influenza season.

“…The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.”

2. You might already be contagious.

Adults who have the flu can infect other people up to a day before symptoms become visible, and up to 7 days after becoming sick.

3. Some people are at high risk for flu.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year, but for certain people the vaccine is particularly important. For example, children younger than 5 are especially susceptible to flu-related complications. And people who live in nursing homes or other long-term care communities are more likely to be exposed to the virus. Healthcare workers and other caregivers are at risk of catching the disease and also spreading it, because of the person-to-person contact they engage in.

Providence Life Services offers free flu vaccines to all residents, clients, and staff at all our locations. “Not everyone takes advantage of it,” says Mary Kay Kacmarek, Vice President of Clinical Services, “because they may have received a vaccination in the hospital, or they may have allergies, or whatever. But we offer 100% coverage, at our own expense, because we know our population falls into the ‘high-risk’ category.”

For people who are not fortunate enough to be part of a Providence community yet, Medicare may cover your seasonal flu vaccine and its administration for all beneficiaries with no co-pay or deductible.

4. National Influenza Vaccination Week is coming up.

The CDC has instituted December 4–10, 2011, as National Influenza Vaccination Week, as part of their effort to encourage people to get vaccinated, even after the holidays and into the new year. The flu vaccine is the single most effect way to prevent the flu.

Flu vaccines are still readily available at local providers, and the flu season has not hit its peak yet, so it’s not too late to get a shot.

Protect your family. Protect yourself. Get a flu vaccine — not the flu.

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