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With influenza season rolling around, it’s time for flu shots again

Sep 4, 2019, 07:00 AM

Did you know:

  • You can get influenza, no matter what your age.
  • Getting influenza can land you in the hospital.
  • If you have certain health conditions, the flu can lead to serious complications.
  • Unlike other vaccines, you need a flu shot every year.
  • People who get a flu shot are less likely to get sick.
  • People who do get the flu after having a flu shot recover faster than those who haven’t been vaccinated.

You may know all that, because that message about getting the flu shot for influenza is the same from year to year. Influenza keeps coming back.

“That’s why it’s so important to get a flu shot every fall,” says Safina Koreishi, MD, CareOregon Medical Director. “It’ll give you a better chance of staying well, or helping you avoid the more serious complications if you do get sick. And just as important, if you have the flu shot you are less likely to pass the flu on to loved ones who, for one reason or another, can’t get a flu shot, like newborn babies.”

Most health plans, including the Oregon Health Plan, will provide the flu shot at no additional cost to you, which makes it a real bargain.

This year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that nearly everyone older than 6 months should get a flu shot.

People who are at high risk of complications from influenza include:

  • Children younger than 2 years
  • Seniors age 65 and older
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives
  • People with certain chronic health conditions, including
    • Asthma
    • Heart disease
    • Parkinson’s
    • Diabetes
    • Weakened immune systems due to HIV, AIDS or cancer

People who use tobacco also get influenza more easily and are sicker when they get it.

“Getting a flu shot should be part of your regular health care calendar, just like getting a wellness visit with your doctor and a dental visit with your dentist,” Dr. Koreishi says. “It’s your best protection during the flu and cold season that happens every winter.”