Last updated: March 1, 2023
Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. This year’s flu season began early, it’s more severe than past years – and here in Maryland it’s very high. This is National Influenza Vaccination Week, a perfect time to talk about the importance of getting the flu vaccine to protect yourself through the holiday season and beyond.
Why should I get vaccinated?
Vaccination is the best protection against the flu. Everybody 6 months and older should get a flu shot, particularly people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications including young children, pregnant women, older individuals, and people with chronic illness.
Why do I need to get a flu shot every year?
You should get a flu shot each year because flu viruses are constantly changing and protection from vaccination decreases over time. The vaccine has been proven to reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Flu vaccines are still beneficial even if you’ve already had the flu this season to protect you against other strains of the flu that are circulating.
Can the flu shot make you sick?
Some people have muscle aches or a fever for a day or two after receiving a flu shot. This is not the flu. It’s a sign that your body is working to produce protective antibodies. Vaccines are held to the highest standards of safety and, while side effects can be uncomfortable, the vaccine is generally very safe.
Is it too late to get a flu shot?
It’s never too late to get vaccinated.
A lot of people are getting sick right now. Covid, RSV, and other respiratory illnesses are circulating. In addition to a flu vaccine, don’t forget healthy habits such as covering a cough or sneeze, washing your hands, and avoiding others while you are sick or if they are sick. If you’re sick, stay home to help keep the virus from spreading. Lastly, masks are not just to prevent the spread of Covid, they also work for flu and other respiratory illnesses.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others, we’ll see you next week.