October brings the start of flu season and the need to get immunized to lessen the likelihood that you will be infected, said Lin Montgomery, Public Health Coordinator for the Jackson County Health Department.
Most seasonal flu activity typically occurs between October and May. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February.
“The Center For Disease Control recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, if possible in October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins,” said Montgomery. “However, as long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.”
The Jackson County Health Department recommends vaccination along with the use of good hygiene practices: wash hands often (before meals, after using the bathroom, being outside or petting animals) with soap and warm water; use sanitizer if there is nothing else. Dispose of tissues quickly and safely. Don’t forget to sanitize hats, jackets, scarves and backpacks, toys and bedding.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
It’s possible to get sick with the flu even if you have been vaccinated (although you won’t know for sure unless you get a flu test). This is possible for the following reasons:
- You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure may result in you becoming ill with flu before the vaccine begins to protect you. (About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection develop in the body.)
- You may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different flu viruses that circulate every year. The flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
Unfortunately, some people can become infected with a flu virus the flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated. Protection provided by flu vaccination can vary widely, based in part on health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, the flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.
“Vaccines are available now and you can call 812-522-6667 to set an appointment, said Montgomery.
The Jackson County Health Department is located at 801 W. 2nd Street in Seymour.