According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 54 percent of pregnant women receive the flu vaccine, although it is highly recommended during pregnancy.
The CDC is encouraging all people who can receive the flu shot to do so, especially pregnant women. The flu shot protects both the mother and her baby. Pregnant women who get vaccinated pass antibodies to their babies, protecting babies in the first few months of life before they can get their own vaccine. Women with influenza are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized if they are pregnant.
Routine annual vaccination is recommended beginning at 6 months of age. For a child aged 6 months to 8 years who has never had a flu vaccine before, the CDC recommends two doses separated by at least four weeks. A nasal vaccine is available for patients ages 2 to 49 years, although not recommended for those individuals with immunosuppression, pregnancy, cochlear implants, asplenia or lung diseases, such as asthma.
Routine, annual flu vaccination is recommended throughout adulthood, and people who are 65 or older are advised to receive the high-dose vaccine.
While the flu season for 2019-20 is anticipated to be bad, the time to get your flu shot is now.
Influenza is a serious illness with potential complications such as bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. During the 2017-18 flu season, the CDC estimated that 49 million illnesses, 960,000 hospitalizations and 79,000 deaths occurred because of the flu.
While there are medications to combat the flu, immunizations are still our best tool in combating the spread and preventing illness from the influenza. Check with your health care provider about receiving the flu vaccine.
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has flu shots available daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Additionally, we will be open on Columbus Day, Oct. 14, for flu shots. For additional information regarding the flu or flu vaccine, visit cdc.gov/flu.