According to James Phillips, M.D., Infectious Disease Branch Chief at ADH, flu season is just around the corner in Arkansas.
“Even though we have no confirmed positive cultures of influenza in the state yet, we want people to go ahead now and get a flu shot, because the vaccine takes ten days to two weeks or more to provide adequate protection from the flu,” Phillips said.
The best time to be immunized is between mid-October and mid-November. This allows your immunity to peak during the height of the influenza season, which is generally December through March.
There are two types of flu vaccines that are available and effective at preventing the flu. One is the familiar needle flu shot and the other is the intranasal flu vaccine, which is needle-free.
Persons who should not receive influenza vaccines for health reasons are: persons with a severe allergy (i.e. anaphylactic allergic reaction) to hens’ eggs and persons who previously had onset of Guillain-Barre syndrome during the 6 weeks after receiving influenza vaccines.
Vaccinations are recommended for the following persons who are at increased risk for severe complications from influenza, or at higher risk for influenza-associated clinic, emergency department or hospital visits:
- All children aged six months to five years of age
- All persons over fifty years of age
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
- Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Adults and children who have immunosuppression
- Children and adolescents who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, hematological or metabolic disorders
- Adults and children who have any conditions that can compromise respiratory function
Persons who live with or care for persons at high risk for influenza-related complications should also get a flu shot, including:
- Health-care providers
- Healthy household contacts and caregivers of children less than five years old and adults over fifty years of age
- Healthy household contacts and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza