In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), HealthCentral is participating in a blog relay as part of a countdown to the first day of NIVW. Each day this week, a different Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador has posted about the importance of flu vaccination as it relates to his or her particular readers. I am the designated Flu Vax Digital Ambassador for Saturday.
You can follow the past & future NIVW conversations on Twitter using hashtag #NIVW2014.
Blog Relay Posts That Have Already Been Posted
Here is a list of what you may have already missed (since I am almost at the end of this relay).
Monday, December 1 – A Place for Mom – adults 65 years and older
Tuesday, December 2 – Nurses Who Vaccinate – health care professionals
Wednesday, December 3 – Voices for Vaccines – parents and caregivers of young children
Thursday, December 4 – Shot of Prevention – pregnant women and parents
Friday, December 5 – Healtheo360 – people with a chronic illness, such as heart disease or diabetes
The Centers for Disease Control, known as CDC for short, founded National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. NIVW is scheduled this year for December 7-13, 2014.
Estimates from past years have shown that the number of people getting flu shots drops quickly after the end of November. CDC and its partners want to remind you that even though the holiday season has arrived, it is not too late to get your flu vaccine.
As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, a flu shot can provide protection for you against the flu. Even unvaccinated people who have already gotten sick with one flu virus can still benefit from a flu shot! That's because the flu vaccine protects against the three or four different flu viruses that are expected to circulate each season. So, even if one of them got you, the flu shot may protect you against any others you come into contact with after you get the shot.
Why People Who Have Asthma Need a Yearly Flu Shot
Another goal of NIVW is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications. This includes young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions such as asthma and people age 65 years and older.
For people at high risk, getting the flu can mean developing serious flu-related complications, such as pneumonia. Or, you might just find that your asthma control slips seriously, and that can lead to hospitalization or even death, in extreme circumstances.
The flu vaccine is the best way modern medicine currently has to protect against this potentially serious disease. Flu shots can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu related hospitalizations and deaths.
Despite the unpredictable nature of the flu, keep these facts in mind:
1. You need the 2014-2015 flu vaccine for optimal protection against the flu. Flu viruses are always changing and new vaccine is made each year so that the vaccine protects against the currently circulating influenza viruses. Also, the protection you get from a flu shot does decline over time. So, vaccination is recommended every year for optimal protection.
2. It takes about two weeks after you get a flu shot for your immune system to build the antibodies the body needs to protect against the flu.
3. Flu activity usually peaks between December and February in the United States and can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it's not too late to get vaccinated.
4. With flu activity starting to increase and family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu shot to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Your Next Steps
If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, take action today to protect yourself and to increase your odds of staying healthy this flu season. There may be various choices available to you for the flu vaccine. Discuss your options with your personal physician or other health care professionals with whom you consult.
Flu shots are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores and pharmacies, and health centers, as well as by many employers and schools. The supply is good this year, so with all these options, you should have no trouble finding a place to get your flu shot.
Millions of doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to people safely for decades. No matter what you may have heard, getting a flu shot is safe and effective!
Once you've been vaccinated, you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that you have taken the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.
Remember: CDC says an annual flu shot is the best protection against flu. Get your flu shot and encourage others to do the same by sharing your flu vaccine selfies on social media using the #VaxWithMe tag! Be sure to stop by the other NIVW relay participants’ blogs to learn about flu vaccination for everyone – tomorrow’s post will be hosted by About.com Cold & Flu.
Published On: December 01, 2014