Influenza, commonly known as “the flu”, is caused by the influenza virus. It can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. A yearly flu shot is recommended for the following groups of people who are at increased risk for serious complications:
- Persons aged 50 or older.
- Adults and children older than 6 months of age who have chronic heart or lung conditions (including asthma), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, weakened immune systems due to medicine or by infection with HIV/AIDS.
- Children and teenagers older than 6 months who are on long-term aspirin therapy and therefore at risk to develop Reye Syndrome after the flu.
- Women who will be in their second or third trimester during flu season.
- Health care providers.
- All children 6 months or older interacting with anyone in the high risk group.
Recent research indicates that children who interact with the elderly should also be immunized to prevent influenza that could be problematic for the geriatric patient. However, those individuals who have an allergy to eggs, prior reaction to the vaccine and those who have had Guillion-Barre Syndrome should not receive Flu shots.
Remember, Flu vaccine can be administered with pneumonia vaccine.