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The Flu Vaccine and Its Availability

The flu is very common and can be quite serious — even deadly. Depending on several factors, including the predominant flu strains circulating in a given year, flu infects between 9 million and 45 million Americans a year. Between 140,000 and 810,000 are hospitalized and between 12,000 to 61,000 die every year. It's not something to be taken lightly.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot annually. Why do we need one every year? For several reasons. The most common strains of the flu virus can change from year to year, so the strains included in the flu vaccine may also change. Also, immunity from the vaccine decreases over time. While anyone can get the flu — or even get seriously ill — certain groups are particularly susceptible, including adults over 65, children ages 6 months to 4 years, people in nursing homes, pregnant women, and anyone with a weakened immune system or chronic health condition. We all help keep the community healthy by getting an annual flu vaccine.

How Does the Flu Shot Work?

With the 2019 COVID pandemic, people became more and more familiar with the term "antibodies." These are Y-shaped proteins that "bind like a lock-and-key to the body's foreign invaders," like viruses or bacteria. They are key in fighting off anything that would harm the immune system.

A flu vaccine, or "flu shot," stimulates the body to produce antibodies against the flu virus. There are several types of flu vaccines that you can talk to your Ascend Medical provider about.

How Long Does the Flu Shot Last?

Because immune protection from the vaccine declines over time, it is important to get your vaccine every year. The flu virus is also constantly changing, so vaccine compositions change based on the type of flu virus each year.

When are Flu Shots Available?

Starting at the age of 6 months old, each person is eligible to receive the flu vaccine every year. It's best to get your flu shot every year early in the flu season. The CDC recommends you get your flu vaccine by the end of October, though you can still get vaccinated into January.

Even if you've had the flu, it's best to get the flu vaccine because multiple strains cause the flu each year. The flu vaccine helps protect you from four different strains each year.

Serious reactions to the flu vaccine are rare. Mild side effects, such as soreness at the injection site and headache can occur for a day or two.

Where Can I Find the Flu Shot?

If you or a family member have not received your flu vaccine, you can get a flu shot through your Ascend Medical provider. We have 24/7 on call care and provide same/next day in-person home visits, so we can administer the vaccine from home or work. You can also use the link below to schedule any follow up appointments with one of our medical providers.

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