Millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. The best way to protect yourself against the flu is getting your annual flu vaccine.
The influenza virus itself changes slightly from year to year, which is why it is important to get your flu vaccine annually. The CDC estimates that the flu vaccine protects 50-80% of people each year from getting the flu, and those who get the flu after they have been vaccinated usually have much milder symptoms that last for a shorter amount of time.
Everyone six months of age or older should get their flu vaccine every year. Flu season typically lasts between November to April. It is best to get vaccinated in early fall before flu season starts. The flu vaccine is offered in almost any healthcare setting including physician’s offices, pharmacies, urgent care clinics, and often other places like your workplace, community centers, or college health centers. The best part, all Medicare plans cover your annual flu shot as long as a doctor or other qualified health care provider administers the shot.
Below are other benefits of getting your annual flu vaccine:
- Reduces the likelihood of getting sick with the flu
- Can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for older adults
- Important preventative tool for people with chronic health conditions
- Reduces the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick
- May protect other people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness
With COVID on the forefront of our minds, it is important we don’t forget about the importance of all the other vaccinations that keep us safe. Be sure to discuss the flu vaccine with your healthcare provider and get it taken care of before flu season starts!