Some people don’t take influenza seriously, so they neglect to get the flu vaccine. However, the flu can be very dangerous. It can be physically exhausting, may result in hospitalization, and can even lead to death.
Who’s at Risk for the Flu?
Everyone is at risk for the flu, which is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone 6 months of age or older get a flu shot. Why do children as young as 6 months old need a flu shot? Young children are vulnerable because their immune systems are still developing, and that puts them at risk for contracting infections. There are approved flu shots available for young children, so talk to your pediatrician about what’s appropriate for your child.
Older Children and Adults Should Get the Flu Vaccine
Children and adults need the flu vaccine because they are susceptible to catching the flu from others. Children in school are exposed to germs each day. Crowded classrooms and school buses can be incubators for infectious diseases, so it is easy for school-aged children to catch the flu and other illnesses.
Likewise, adults can catch the flu at work. Older adults and those with chronic conditions like cancer or diabetes can be especially vulnerable because of weak immune systems. Additionally, the flu can be harmful to pregnant women and impact a baby’s development.
Flu Shots for Individuals Working With Vulnerable Populations
People employed in health care and child care centers and those who work with other populations who may be at high risk for contracting the flu should get vaccinated. A worker who has not been vaccinated and comes to work with flu symptoms may not realize that he or she has the flu until it is passed on to others. Not only can health care workers pass the flu to those in their care, but they can also contract the flu from patients.
There are some people who should not get a flu shot. These include children younger than 6 months and anyone who may be allergic to any component of the flu vaccine. Talk with your health care provider regarding whether you or a loved one may be a candidate for a flu shot.
Interested in getting the flu shot? Talk to staff at WFMC Health or become a new patient today!