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Getting a flu shot often protects you from coming down with the flu. And although the flu shot doesn’t always provide total protection, it’s worth getting.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

 

This year’s annual flu shot will offer protection against the H1N1 flu virus, in addition to two other influenza viruses that are expected to be in circulation this flu season. A vaccine that protects against four strains of the virus will also be available, as will a high-dose flu vaccine for adults age 65 and older.

Influenza is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly to young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against influenza.

Here are the answers to common questions about flu shots:

When is the flu vaccine available?
Because the flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, its availability depends on when production is completed. For the 2016-2017 flu season, manufacturers have indicated shipments are likely to begin in July or August and continue throughout September and October until all vaccine is distributed. Doctors and nurses are encouraged to begin vaccinating people as soon as the flu vaccine is available in their areas.

It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot, but you can benefit from the vaccine even if you don’t get it until after flu season starts.

Why do I need to get vaccinated every year?
New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses.

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