What You Need To Know About Flu Shots
December 07, 2021
Flu shots don’t just protect those who get vaccinated; they guard everyone, including your family and the community. Renown Health experts help us understand why everyone, including children, pregnant women and the elderly, should get a flu shot.
Ways to Schedule Your Flu Shot
Flu Shot Information
Whitney Robinson, Renown Health Infection Prevention Expert
Chills, body aches, fever and congestion; getting the flu isn’t fun. When you get a flu shot, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re also helping reduce the total flu cases and hospitalizations.
The ideal time to get your flu shot is September through October. This timing allows the vaccine to provide the strongest protection during the length of flu season. However, getting the vaccine later is better than not at all as it's still flu season well into spring.
In general, influenza (flu) is worse than the common cold and shares symptoms with COVID-19, causing mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Symptoms include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone will have a fever)
- Cough and/or sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches, muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
Who Needs a Flu Shot?
Almost everyone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers it the first and most crucial step in protecting against the flu virus. Therefore, they recommend the yearly flu shot for those six months of age and older.
Does the Flu Shot Help with COVID-19?
The short answer is no. However, flu vaccines can reduce the risks of flu illness and hospitalization. Therefore, it is crucial for you to get your flu shot to not only protect yourself and the community, but also to help conserve vital, local healthcare resources.
CDC Resource: Who Needs a Flu Vaccine and When
Kids, the Elderly and Flu Shots
Vanessa Slots, M.D., Renown Medical Group
The flu is not a passing cold. It is a serious illness that takes lives every year and it happens like clockwork. The onset of flu season is fall and lasts through winter into the spring months. This lung illness is caused by viruses, with yearly outbreaks occurring worldwide. No one is immune, and anyone can catch to the flu.
Flu Signs and Symptoms
- Quick onset of fever
- Body aches and fatigue along with respiratory symptoms including cough
- Sore throat and nose
Who's at Risk for the Flu?
Children and the elderly are at greater risk of complications from the flu, specifically toddlers less than two years old. At this age, their immunity is still developing. Seniors over 65 are also at increased risk because their immune systems have weakened with age.
The severity of a child’s symptoms depends on age and prior exposure to the virus. With young children, for example, the flu is more problematic since they cannot talk and communicate their symptoms.
As a result, children often experience higher fevers, which can lead to seizures or convulsions. This can be coupled with issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and poor appetite, all of which put children at risk of dehydration and other complications that can require hospitalization. An average of 20,000 children are hospitalized for flu each year.
Pre-Existing Health Issues
Ongoing health conditions including asthma, heart conditions, diabetes and more can intensify flu symptoms. Still, many children without risk factors can experience severe flu complications.
CDC Resource: Flu Information for Parents
Pregnant Moms and Flu Shots
Tamsen Carson, PAC, Surgical First Assistant, OB/GYN, Renown Medical Group
“During pregnancy, your immune system wards off infection for your baby, leaving you more susceptible to infection and adverse health conditions,” Tamsen explains. She highly recommends flu shots for ALL women during pregnancy. You must receive the injected vaccine versus the live vaccine, a nasal spray, which can cause the flu to occur.
Passing Flu Immunity on to Your Baby
Also, remember that you will also be able to pass the immunity onto your baby if you breastfeed, which will protect your baby from the flu.
CDC Resource: Flu Safety and Pregnancy