Flu seasons tend to vary in terms of time of occurrence, length and severity. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they commonly occur during fall and winter. Over time, CDC has recognized the peak season of Flu activity to be between the months of December and February.
Every year, the influenza virus is responsible for a myriad of death and hospitalization cases. Approximately 5-20% of Americans are affected by the virus every year, as stated by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). According to CDC estimates, flu-related illnesses were responsible for 12,000-56,000 deaths and 140,000-710,000 hospitalizations approximately since 2010.
Individuals who are older than 65 years of age are said to be more susceptible and vulnerable to the virus, as compared to younger individuals. In fact, over 85% of death cases and 70% of hospitalizations caused by the virus occurred in people of 65 years of age and older. This is because older individuals have a weaker immune system and are less likely to remain unaffected during the flu season.
The flu virus is said to spread at higher levels during the flu season. Hence, healthy individuals, including caregivers are likely to get infected or contract the virus. To avoid getting sick or spreading or around, caregivers are advised to practice good health habits.
The best preventive measure against the flu virus is a flu shot. Below, we take a look at some of the top reasons why a flu shot is important.
A flu shot is considered to be the most effective way to prevent contracting the virus. In fact, the CDC estimates that the vaccine reduces a person’s chances of developing any flu-related illnesses by 61%. If by the unlikely chance that you still develop the flu even after being vaccinated, the symptoms should be mild.
Protect Yourself and Others Around You
It’s the best way to not only protect yourself but those around you. This is extremely important to note if you are a caregiver, or have children that can easily contract the virus. Influenza is highly infectious and can easily be spread from one person to another.
For Ongoing Protection
A flu shot should be received on an annual basis for continual protection. This is because, over time, the influenza virus mutates into new strains which are no longer covered by a previous influenza vaccine. This way, the vaccine is likely to combat the virus more effectively.
The flu vaccine is covered by a number of health insurance plans in the United States. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health plans cover influenza vaccinations, as well as other preventive care measures. Hence, you have no excuse for skipping the vaccine shot.
In conclusion, the above information applies to every single individual. This includes children as young as six months, as recommended by the CDC. Given the fact that the virus spreads easily, it is essential that each member of your household receives the annual shot.
In turn, you can reduce the occurrence of flu-related illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, both at work and at home.