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Diseases and Conditions: Who Needs the Flu Vaccine?

Conditions > Who Needs the Flu Vaccine?

From November to April, medical professionals are on the lookout for flu symptoms. Most cases of the flu occur between late December and early March. The flu vaccine is usually given in September and mid-November in preparation for worst months of the year for people who are susceptible to the flu.

Not everyone needs a flu vaccine, but everyone should take normal precautionary measures to avoid getting and spreading the flu. Wash your hands several times throughout the day and never pick up used tissues. Don’t share cups and eating utensils. If you are sick with the flu, don’t be a hero. Stay home from school and work so others will not be exposed to your illness. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of that tissue in an appropriate trash receptacle.

Everyone should take the precautionary measures listed above, but some people need more protection than others due to their ages or health conditions.

Children who are older than six months and not quite two years old should be vaccinated against the flu. Babies who were born prematurely and could develop lung problems also need to be immunized. Children who have chronic heart or lung disorders should also be protected.

Children and adults who have seen a doctor regularly or have been hospitalized for chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, severe anemia or immune deficiency should be immunized. If medication suppresses the immune system, a flu vaccine is critical.

Pregnant women are at risk for the flu and serious complications if they are in their second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season. Those who are considered to have high-risk pregnancies should get a flu shot regardless of their stages of pregnancy.

Elderly people, 65 and older, need to be immunized against the flu, particularly if they live in nursing homes or other facilities that care for people with chronic diseases and conditions.

The flu can be an occupational hazard to health care workers and emergency personnel such as police, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians. These people should get in line for a flu vaccine early before the flu season strikes.

If you are planning to travel to the tropics or to the Southern Hemisphere from April to September and did not get a flu vaccine during the previous year, protect yourself with the flu vaccine.

Some People Should Not Get Flu Shots

If you are allergic to eggs and egg products, the risk of getting a flu vaccine could be greater to you than getting the flu. Some ingredients for the flu vaccine are grown inside eggs. Babies who are less than six months old should not be immunized against the flu. If you have ever had a severe reaction to a flu vaccination, do not get another flu shot. Very few people do experience negative side effects from the flu shot, but those who do could be at risk for more complications with another dose. Those who are sick with a fever should also avoid flu shots.

Guillain-Barré syndrome(GBS)is a rare medical condition that affects the immune system and nerves and people who have been diagnosed with GBS should not get a flu shot.

Conditions > Who Needs the Flu Vaccine?