Summertime, and the livin’ is uneasy
Stocks are slumpin’
Unemployment is high

(with apologies to George Gershwin)

Reminders of the end of summer are upon us.  Kids are returning to school.  Rain covers are thrown over backyard grills.  Flu vaccines are arriving in doctor offices.

This season’s influenza vaccine is here.  It contains the flu strains most likely to reach North America this fall including H1N1, the flu strain formerly known as swine flu which caused so much hoopla last year.

The Centers of Disease Control this year decided that that the flu shot should be recommended for everyone over 6 months of age so as to limit the spread of flu and protect more people.  The vaccine is particularly important for the following groups:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    • Health care workers
    • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

The following people should not be vaccinated:

  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
  • People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
  • Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group), and
  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.)

So get your flu shot now, and start dreaming of an influenza-free winter.

Learn more:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine