LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – An estimated 80,000 Americans died of influenza and its complications last winter – the disease’s highest death toll in at least four decades.
The CDC says the annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the virus.
It’s roughly two weeks after the shot when you develop protection from influenza. That protection lasts a year, guarding against three different strains. If you contract the virus, you will be contagious for a full day before you show symptoms. That’s why local health officials said the earlier you’re vaccinated, the more effective it may be.
“What we know from extensive research is the flu vaccine is very safe,” Mayo Clinic Health Physician Caroline Wilker said. “It’s the most effective way to prevent influenza and we recommend everyone above the age of 6 months obtain the flu vaccine every year.”
What can be a nuisance for a healthy adult is deadly for others. Elderly, pregnant women and those who may have compromised immune systems are at a high risk of developing severe complications.
There is a limited supply of high-dose vaccines for those above 65 which can help create a more robust immune response. The regular flu shot is approved and recommended for everyone above 6 months old.