The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Annual flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity usually peaks in January and can last until May.
Why should I get a flu vaccination?
Annual vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting yourself against the flu. For many people, the flu means a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. For others, it means hospitalization and even death. According to the CDC, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the U.S. from flu complications each year. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, CDC estimates of yearly flu-associated deaths in the U.S. range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people during the most severe season.
Where can I get a vaccination?
Flu vaccinations are available at a variety of pharmacies, doctor’s offices and the Knox County Health Department (KCHD). For Knox County residents, flu shots are $25 and FluMist is $35 at any of the three KCHD locations (see the sidebar on the right for directions to our offices).
FluMist is an intra-nasal influenza vaccine that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children as young as 2.
What’s the best way to fight the flu?
The four most important steps in fighting the flu are:
- Wash your hands well and often,
- Cover your cough/sneeze,
- Stay home when you are sick and keep your children home when they are, and
- Get vaccinated.
Click here for more information about influenza and vaccination.
Click here for information about KCHD’s In-school Influenza Vaccination clinics.