Along with fall’s cooler temperatures comes flu season. Although, it’s a challenge to predict the beginning, peak and end of flu season, the influenza epidemic typically occurs in the United States between October and April. Every year, millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands die from the flu. Although all age groups are susceptible to influenza, data from the Influenza Incidence Surveillance Project (IISP) revealed the highest number of outpatient visits occur among individuals age 2-17 years old. Complications, hospitalizations and deaths from the seasonal flu are most common in people >65 years, <2 years, and people of any age with multiple medical conditions.
In previous years, some doctors recommended getting a nasal spray vaccine, as opposed to the traditional flu shot. The nasal spray is currently not recommended by the CDC because it may not be as effective at preventing the flu as the shot, according to recent studies. There are a variety of flu shots available. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices does not endorse a specific vaccine but recommends against the live attenuated vaccine during the 2016-2017 season in the United States. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Once you have received your flu vaccine it will provide you with 6-8 months of immunity so it is recommended to get your flu vaccine by the end of October.