Time to Get a Flu Shot!
Flu season is here, and it’s time to get a flu shot! The flu (or influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The illness can be mild to severe, sometimes resulting in death. Individuals who are at higher risk for complications include those with asthma; chronic lung diseases such as COPD and cystic fibrosis; sickle cell disease; diabetes; neurological diseases such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, stroke and muscular dystrophy; heart disease; cancer; kidney disorders; liver disorders; HIV; and metabolic disorders.
With over three million cases of the flu every year in the United States, coming in contact with someone who is carrying the virus is very likely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the peak months for influenza are October through March. It is best to get the flu vaccination as early as possible, preferably in October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, it is still possible to get the vaccination, even in January or later. In fact, while flu outbreaks happen as early as October, flu activity usually peaks in January or later. It is best to get vaccinated before the flu begins spreading in the local community. The CDC recommends a flu vaccine every year for everyone six months of age and older, even if they were vaccinated the previous year. The flu vaccine does not give people the the flu.
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called trivalent vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses: an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called quadrivalent vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus. The flu vaccine will prevent most cases of the flu. However, if someone does get the flu after being vaccinated, the symptoms will be milder with less chance of serious complications.
Flu shots are available to all students at all Georgia State University Student Health Clinic locations. For more information, call the Student Health Clinic at 404-413-1930 and ask to speak to a nurse.