Flu Vaccination Protects Yourself and Others

November 27, 2016 in Our News & Bulletins by Sunlight Care

flu-high-riskFor young, healthy people the consequences of the flu may be mild, but keep in mind that your vaccination can also protect others. Throughout this flu season, you may encounter elderly people or immunocompromised people for whom the flu is serious business. When you are vaccinated, you lessen the chance that the flu virus could spread to them.

 

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu. While the flu can make anyone sick, some people are at high risk for serious flu complications, including retirees, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions. Flu vaccination and the correct use of flu antiviral medicines are very important for those people.

 

Serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia and bronchitis, can lead to hospitalization or even death. The flu can also make long-term health problems worse, even if they are well managed. Groups of people at high risk include the following:

 

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives
  • And people who have certain chronic medical conditions including:
    • Asthma
    • Chronic lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis
    • Heart disease such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease
    • Blood disorders such as sickle cell disease
    • Endocrine disorders such as diabetes mellitus
    • Kidney and liver disorders
    • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication
    • People with extreme obesity (body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater)

 

If you get sick with the flu, antiviral drugs are a treatment option and are recommended for people who are at high risk of serious complications. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at high risk of serious flu complications and you get flu symptoms.

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