Flu season: Should you get vaccinated? - LivewellNebraska.com
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Flu season: Should you get vaccinated?

Flu season is right around the corner and it's always unpredictable. Though more than 128 million Americans received the flu shot for the 2012-2013 season, many people didn't.

Some parents choose not to vaccinate their children, citing risky side effects. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the yearly influenza vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, ideally by October.

The CDC reported that manufacturers have already begun shipping nearly 140 million doses of flu vaccine for the 2013-2014 season. While some are available now, ample supplies should be available by September and October.

Flu shot or not?
- According to the Department of Health and Human Services of Nebraska, there were 7,074 total positive cases of influenza in Nebraska in the 2012-2013 season.

- Dr. Rudolf Kotula, an infectious disease specialist with Methodist Physicians Clinic, said the
winter and early spring months appear to be the worst for influenza and complications due to the viral illness.

- Pregnant women, people over the age of 65 and people with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get the flu, according to the CDC.

- Dr. Kotula said that the flu can lead to serious complications, hospitalization and sometimes result in death. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread this disease to their family and friends, he said.

- Dr. Kotula said the structure of the flu virus changes constantly, making it vary each season. He said annual influenza vaccination is important to protect against most recent circulating viruses. Annual vaccination is recommended because the immune protection from vaccination declines overtime.

- The most prominent symptoms of influenza are fever, sore throat and muscle aches.

- The influenza vaccine should not be given to someone who is feeling ill, children younger than 6 months and people with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome - a severe paralyzing illness related to previous vaccine administration.

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