Courtesy of Cy-Fair Hospital
It is getting to be that time of year again. Children are back at school and leaves are starting to fall from the trees. The beginning of flu season is just around the corner. Now would be a good time to get your annual flu shot. And you may also want to think about a pneumonia vaccine to help prevent pneumococcal infections that can cause pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections.
October or November is the best time to get your vaccination because infection-fighting antibodies that provide protection against the flu generally take about two weeks to develop in the body. But even if you wait until December or later, a flu shot may still help prevent illness since the flu season can last until May. It is important to remember that a vaccination does not offer complete protection against illness. Even if you do get the flu after being vaccinated, you are at less risk of developing flu-related complications such as pneumonia, heart attack or stroke.
While you may experience side effects from a vaccination, a flu shot does not cause the flu. An annual vaccination is recommended because strains of flu virus change from year to year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that certain groups of people get vaccinated, including:
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
Adults 65 years of age or older also should get a vaccine to protect them against pneumococcal disease, which is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable illness and death in the United States. The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine protects older children and adults against 23 types of pneumonia-causing bacteria within two to three weeks after vaccination.
The pneumonococcal conjugate vaccine is approved for young children and is routinely given to children in four doses at the ages of two, four and six months, and then between 12 and 15 months of age. The vaccine may be given to children up to five years old who have not already been vaccinated or are at high risk of serious pneumococcal disease.
Both a flu shot and pneumococcal vaccine can help avoid illness, but neither can guarantee that you will not get sick. If you want to stay healthy this fall and winter season, wash your hands regularly, stay away from people who are ill, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and get your flu and pneumonia shots.
Cy-Fair Emergency & Emergency Center (27126 Highway 290 at Mueschke Road) will host a drive-thru flu shot clinic on Saturday, October 1, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. while supplies last. The flu vaccine will be available for $20 (cash only) for ages 9 and up. Cypress Fairbanks Urgent Care Center (9110 Barker Cypress) will also be offering $20 flu shots beginning October 1 while supplies last. The center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m, and walk-ins are welcome and no appointment is necessary. For more information visit www.CyFairERandUrgentCare.com.