Flu shots can be a controversial topic. However, research conducted by the Mississippi Department of Health shows us why it is better to get the shot than to leave yourself or loved ones unprotected.
Children six months of age and older.
Children, especially those six months through four years old, are more vulnerable to flu and its complications. Vaccination for all children and adolescents through 18 years of age is recommended to help protect them.
The flu shot is not approved for use in children less than 6 months old.
Adults 50 and older.
People over the age of 50 are the largest group in the nation struck by serious or life-threatening cases of influenza. Flu also puts seniors at much greater risk for pneumonia. Pneumonia is a significant risk to the life and health of older adults, and hospitalizes more seniors each year than influenza.
If you are over 50, take steps to get your flu and pneumonia shots this season. The pneumonia vaccination won’t prevent pneumonia, but it can greatly reduce the severity and deadliness of pneumonia.
Women who will be pregnant during the flu season.
Pregnancy can change the immune system in the mother, and affect the heart and lungs. This raises the risk of medical complications in pregnant women who get the flu, and makes hospitalization more likely. Early vaccination is especially important for expectant mothers who already have existing medical problems.
The chronically ill, regardless of age.
If you are an adult suffering from a chronic illness such as diabetes, or a condition like HIV that weakens your immune system, a flu shot is especially important.
Chronic illness greatly increases the risk of getting the flu, having it longer, and suffering from more serious medical problems as a result of it. People with diabetes are almost three times more likely to die from flu complications.
Early prevention is essential. Influenza spreads from November or earlier through April — getting your flu shot before then gives you the best chance of staying healthy.