Flu Shots: Who Needs Them and Why


Labor Day has come and gone heralding the end of summer. I’m back here at the blog after a (great) summer break. I hope you had a healthy summer and are ready to move forward this fall and winter continuing to improve your health and speaking out for health care reform.

This post will remind you about immunizations you may need to get in the next 8 weeks and provide an update on the current status of the swine flu vaccine – when it will be given and whether you need to be vaccinated.

Flu Shots

Late October to early November are the best times to get your flu shot. Read (or re-read) my post from last October about flu season: Wishing You a Healthy Flu Season and a Pneumonia Free New Year.

Remember – a flu is a flu and 36,000 people a year die from complications of the regular old flu – so take care of yourself. Stay home if you are sick (for 24 hours after your fever is gone) to avoid infecting others.

Pneumonia Vaccine/ Pneumovax

If you are over 65 and you had a pneumonia vaccine more than 5 years ago you should be re-vaccinated. If you are any age but have chronic lung disease, heart disease or would be at risk for serious illness if you get the flu, you should receive this vaccine. If you are in good health one, just one dose after age 65 is all you need.

The Centers for Disease Control strongly encourages you to get both your flu shot and pneumonia vaccine together if you are over 65 and have not yet received your pneumonia vaccination.

Swine Flu Vaccine

The swine flu vaccine is currently being produced and should be ready around October 2009. They have been able to get it produced so quickly because it is very similar to prior flu vaccines but provides immunity to H1N1 (swine flu) virus. At the time of this writing, it looks like only one shot instead of two will be needed.

It has not yet been determined how and to whom the vaccine will be distributed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website updates their news and recommendations regularly.

Other Vaccinations Adults Need

See my post from last August on What Adult Vaccinations Do You Need?

How to Stay Well

  • Get vaccinated if you are in a recommended group (see the link under “Flu Shots“ above).
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Teach your children and grand-children how to cough into their elbows and wash their hands.
  • Avoid sick people.
  • If you get sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever has gone.

Any questions, any comments?

This information is offered for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe or treat. For that please seek direct care from a health professional.

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