Who Should Be Immunized for the Flu?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone over six months of age get the seasonal influenza vaccine. This is the most important step you can take in preparing for flu season and protecting yourself and your family. Listed below are specifics groups who should be immunized:
- All children aged six–59 months (i.e., six months–four years);
- All persons aged 50 years or older
- Children and adolescents (aged six months–18 years) receiving long-term aspirin therapy who therefore might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
- Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, hematological or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
- Adults and children who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus;
- Adults and children who have any condition (e.g., cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other neuromuscular disorders) that can compromise respiratory function or the handling of respiratory secretions or that can increase the risk for aspiration
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
- Health care personnel
- Healthy household contacts (including children) and caregivers of children under five years and adults 50 years or older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children under six months
- Healthy household contacts (including children) and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza
In addition to flu shots, the FluMist® nasal vaccine is available. Given as a nasal spray, the FluMist® is for healthy patients ages two to 49.
The appropriate time for receiving the flu vaccine is between October and December.