Eskenazi Health pediatrician
The fall season always brings with it wonderful things for many of us: like cheering on our favorite football teams, seeing the leaves change color and attending fall festivals. However, it also means that flu season is right around the corner and it’s about time to take your annual precautions.
For many, catching the flu is an annoyance that means being sick for a few days and staying home from school or work until you recover. However, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and tens of thousands of people die annually from flu-related causes. People with asthma and heart conditions and infants and the elderly are at highest risk.
Often, healthy people get the flu and then pass it on to others, including those with high risks of hospitalization and death. This is especially problematic during the height of flu season, which usually spans from early October until late May.
The best way to avoid this debilitating illness is to get a flu vaccination, which causes antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after the injection is applied.
Those antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. Each vaccine is designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season, so a new one is created every year.
The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone over 6 months of age should receive a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible.
Getting vaccinated later in the season can still help you avoid the flu, and vaccinations are readily available into January or later.
Children younger than 5 need two doses of vaccine the first time they receive it and should start the vaccination process sooner. Flu shots are available at doctors offices, urgent care clinics, pharmacies and college health centers. Many employers and some schools also offer vaccines.
If you need a pediatrician for your child or a primary care physician for yourself, call 317-880-8687 or visit www.eskenazihealth.edu/doctors. Assistance with health insurance enrollment questions is available at toll-free 1-855-202-1053.