The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the single best way to prevent the seasonal flu is to get an annual influenza vaccination. All of our physicians at Oak Park Pediatrics recommend vaccinations for the seasonal flu as soon as possible to allow ample time for the body to make antibodies that protect against influenza. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.
The CDC recommends all persons get vaccinated by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination will be offered throughout the flu season.
Anyone who wants to reduce his or her chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated. Certain people should get vaccinated because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for high-risk persons. These people include:
- Infants and children ages 6 months and older
- Pregnant women
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or other conditions which compromise immune function
- People who live with or care for household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above) and home caregivers of children less than six months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?
Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.
Get Your Flu Vaccine
The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given by injection. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than six months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions. You can receive a flu shot even if you currently have symptoms of a cold, as long as you do not have a fever.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine (FluMist®) is a live attenuated (weakened) influenza vaccine [LAIV] that is also available for healthy children ages 2 and over.
To get your child’s annual flu vaccine
- Call our office to schedule an appointment – (708) 383-2900
- Receive one during a well child visit (if during flu season)
- Existing patients can participate in FluFest– walk-in during regular office hours for the month of October