It’s especially important that people at high risk for getting complications from the flu—such as pneumonia—get the vaccine.
That group includes kids younger than 5 years old; adults 65 and older; pregnant women; and people who have chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. Anyone who lives with or is in close contact with someone on that list should also make getting the vaccine a priority.
And there’s good news for people who previously could not get a flu shot because they’re allergic to eggs, which are used to manufacture vaccines. A flu vaccine called Flublok, which is made without using eggs, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults 18 and older.
It takes several weeks for the flu vaccine to take effect. And since flu season can continue until May, the sooner you get your shot the better.
Even if you’ve had your flu shot, you should take these steps to avoid the flu virus:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
• Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
• Stay away from sick people.
It’s also important to minimize the spread of germs to others. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue away. If you get sick with a flu-like illness, stay home until your fever has been gone for 24 hours without taking a fever-reducing medicine.