Think youíre not at risk for the flu? You might be dead wrong. Did you know that while the flu can make anyone sick, people with long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes (Type 1 and 2) and heart disease, are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu leading to hospitalization and sometimes death? Rates of infection are highest among children, but the risk for complications, hospitalization and death are higher among adults age 65 or older. In recent years influenza-associated deaths have increased. On average 5 to 20 percent of the United States population are infected with the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications.

Flu season begins October and runs through March and this seasonís flu vaccine will help to protect against three strains including the influenza strain from last year. The good news is that you can take a simple step to protect yourself and your Family from the flu by getting the flu vaccine each year. The bad news is that despite of the known increased risk for severe influenza and recommendations for vaccination, many are still not getting vaccinated. Still not convinced? Here are answers to frequently asked questions.

What is the flu?

Who is at risk?

But I heard the flu shot is the same as last year.

The flu shot always gives me the flu!

But isnít the Flu Mist alive?

What can I do to prevent the spread of the flu?

Where can I receive my vaccine? †

The World Health Organization reports that safe and effective vaccines have been available and used for more than 60 years.

References:

TRICARE (2012, March), Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved Sept. 11, 2012, from http://www.tricare.mil/faqs/question.aspx?ID=1441&page=0&search=influenza&click=ibGo.x

World Health Organization (2009, April). Influenza (Seasonal). Retrieved July 22, 2012, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/index.html