Who Needs A Flu Shot? Who Is At Risk This Year? You Might Be Surprised!

Who Is At Risk?Who Needs A Flu Shot?
Who Is At Risk This Year?
Read These Important Facts.
You Might Be Surprised!

Every year the CDC and other health organizations re-access flu viruses and protocol as to who needs to get vaccinated. The reason for this is that flu viruses change (mutate) constantly, new medications and vaccines are invented, and doctors & scientists learn more about old and new viruses (and how they affect us) every year. It’s important that we all keep ourselves informed of new information and warnings because what we thought or what we knew just last year or a few years ago may not be what holds true today, or next year. That’s why we say, you may be surprised as to who needs a flu shot and who is at risk. And remember, not only is getting the flu costly (paying for medications, doctors, loosing time at work, paying for baby sitters, etc.), but it can also kill you.

THERE ARE CURRENTLY 8 CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE WHO NEED TO GET A FLU SHOT 
or WHO ARE AT RISK FOR COMPLICATIONS DUE TO FLU:

(remember, death is a possible complication)

1. Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old.
2. Adults 65 years of age and older.
3. Pregnant women.
4. In the 2010 flu season, it was found that American Indians and Alaskan Natives seemed to be at higher risk of flu complications.
5. Health care workers, care givers, or anyone who is in close contact with those at risk.
6. Anyone traveling to an area in the world where the majority of the population do not get flu shots (developing countries, etc.)
7. Anyone traveling using mass transit such as subways, buses, and air planes. Being in crowds and around many strangers who may not have been vaccinated, who may be carrying the virus, puts you at risk for getting the flu and transmitting it to others who are at risk.
8. People who have medical conditions including:

Asthma (even if it’s controlled or mild)
Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury]
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 disorders
Liver disorders
Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)
People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
People who are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index [BMI] of 40 or greater)

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find information on where you may be able to get a free or low cost flu shot.


Fast Flu Facts:

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Read the following flu fast facts below:

While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common.
The 2011-2012 vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that emerged in 2009 to cause a pandemic.
Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. Children under 6 months old should NOT be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

Flu Safety & Prevention:

Each year in the U.S., an average of more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications. The CDC urges you to take the following actions, in addition to getting your yearly flu shot, to protect yourself and others from getting the flu. Getting a flu vaccination is also considered to be an essential part of a good Emergency Preparedness plan for individuals and families.

Take actions to protect yourself:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.5
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
While sick, limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.

Take antiviral drugs if recommended:

Most people ill with the flu will recover without complications. However, for those at increased risk of complications, antiviral drugs may be recommended.
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or inhaled powder) that fight the flu by keeping viruses from reproducing in your body.
The flu may be caused by different viruses, which can affect whether an antiviral drug will work for you. Your health care provider will determine whether to prescribe an antiviral.
For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started within the first two days of symptoms.
Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter and are different from antibiotics.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products may offer relief of your symptoms. Talk to your local pharmacist for recommendations.

Flu Chart by MonthRecognize flu-like symptoms:

Fever (usually high)
Headache
Extreme tiredness
Dry cough
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle aches
Sore throat
Sometimes vomiting
Sometimes diarrhea

Diagnosing the flu:

It’s difficult to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of symptoms alone. A doctor’s exam may be needed to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu. There are tests that can determine if you have the flu as long you are tested within the first 2 or 3 days of illness.

If you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your illness, especially if you are at high risk for complications of the flu, you should consult a health care provider. Those at high risk for complications include people 50 years or older, those with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and young children.

When to seek emergency care for children:

Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish or gray skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Severe or persistent vomiting
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

When to seek emergency care for adults:

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Severe or persistent vomiting
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

For More Information: CDC.gov


While many states and municipalities are cutting back on or eliminating free flu shots this year due to economic difficulties, some are still offering. If you don’t see your state or town on the list below don’t assume you cannot get a free flu shot.

Free Flu ShotsYou can do a simple search on Google by typing the words: free flu shot and the name of your town or state. This should give links to where you may be able to get a free flu shot. If that does not work for you or if you are not sure how to search the net, we suggest calling your local health department, hospitals in your area, churches, mayor’s office, or your city/town hall.

Many colleges and universities offer free flu shots to students and facility. Many YMCA and YWCA locations also offer free flu shots. You may also qualify for a free flu shot if a family member works for a hospital or state agency.


Pharmacies & Other Locations Offering Free Flu Shots:

Special rules may apply. For example you may need to be unemployed, of a certain age, live in a particular area, have no insurance coverage, or be a veteran. See each website for details.

Florida; Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach (in association with Walgreens)

Illinois, Chicago

Massachusetts, Burlington

Massachusetts, Peabody

Missouri, St. Louis area

Montana, Department of Veterans Affairs

New Jersey, Newark

North Carolina (ages 4 to college students only through this program)

Pennsylvania, Allegheny County (children only)

Virginia

Wisconsin, Dane County


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