Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 11:29am

Flu Vaccines are Now Available

The best way to stay healthy and protect yourself from the flu is to get the flu shot.  The flu season traditionally begins in early October and vaccinations are currently available at local clinics, pharmacies and some work places.  Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) also offers free vaccines for children and adults without health insurance. 
“We are encouraging people to take advantage of the early arrival of the vaccines to get vaccinated now,” says Diane McHugh, PHMDC Immunization coordinator.  “It takes about 2 weeks after the flu shot for protection to set in, so it´s better to get the vaccine well before the flu season begins”.  
Notable, is that the CDC does not recommend the use of the nasal spray form of the vaccine (FluMist®) due to poor performance last season.  While no vaccine is 100% effective, the benefits of the flu shot are well documented.  Studies show that flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses; doctors' visits, missed work and school, as well as help prevent flu-related hospitalizations. 
This is why flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older every year.  It not only protects individuals from getting the flu, but also protects others in the community, especially those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, those with compromised immune systems, and infants too young to get the vaccine.  The more people vaccinated, the less opportunity there is to infect others. 
McHugh counsels that the flu can be a very serious and potentially life-threatening illness.  “It much worse than a bad cold; it comes with high fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and sometimes more than a few miserable days in bed, which means lost work and school time.”  Young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease are particularly vulnerable
Nationally, flu is responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of deaths every year.  Last season in Dane County (between November 2015 and May 2016), there were 425 flu-related hospitalizations.   
For more information about the flu and flu vaccines from PHMDC
For more detailed information about the flu from the CDC


Health & Safety