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Decision Focus: Flu Shot for Flu Season

By Nancy Reid, Contributing Writer
12/25/2012 1:58:42 PM

Flu shots. Some years you've been strict about getting the whole family in for a seasonal flu vaccination (flu shot). Other years, maybe not so much.

Don't let flu shots slide down your priority list this year. Planning your family's flu shots, including ones for grandma and grandpa, may be one of the most important tasks you do all year.

When should I get the flu shot?

Get the flu shot as soon as it becomes available, which is generally in the early fall. The flu seasons are unpredictable and it takes about two weeks after the flu shot for your body to become fully protected.

Who should get the flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get the flu shot each year. Some kids may need two doses of the vaccine for it to work. Kids between 6 months and 8 years old who didn't receive at least one dose during the 2011-2012 flu season need two doses of the flu shot. The shots are given about 1 month apart.

A higher-dose flu vaccine is available for people over age 65. Talk to your doctor to learn more about this option. The intradermal vaccine is available in some areas for people age 18-64. A nasal-spray flu vaccine is an option for healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Is the H1N1 (swine flu) shot different from the seasonal flu shot?

No. This year, one vaccine will protect you from both H1N1 (swine) and seasonal varieties of flu.

Should or shouldn't you get a flu shot. Continue the article

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