It’s flu season! Did you know that uninsured and Medicaid insured children are eligible for free immunization under the federally funded Vaccines for Children program?
“Influenza is a contagious virus that can cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Especially, in older adults and very young children” said a spokesperson for the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The flu is spread easily if someone who has the flu talks, coughs, or sneezes. You can also get the flu by touching objects with a residue of the virus and touching your eyes, mouth or nose. So it is important to wash your hands often.
Though you may have received a vaccination before, it is important to get a flu vaccine every year because the virus changes over time. There are vaccines that are appropriate for everyone. For example, if you have a history of egg allergy there is an age appropriate vaccine for people with egg sensitivity. It is recommended that you get vaccinated soon because it is hard to predict the exact onset of the flu season.
According to the CDC, the following is a list of people who are at a higher risk for flu associated complications and should get vaccinated as soon as possible:
- All children aged 6 through 59 months
- All persons aged ≥50 years
- Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma) or cardiovascular (excluding isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
- Persons who are immunocompromised due to any cause (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV infection)
- Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Children and adolescents (aged 6 months through 18 years) who are receiving aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- American Indians/Alaska Natives
- Persons who are extremely obese (body mass index ≥40)
Common flu symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea (common in children)