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CDC: Get the Flu Vaccine Now

Update Date: Sep 18, 2014 09:36 AM EDT
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As the summer comes to an end and temperatures drop, the flu season is about to start. Since health experts cannot predict how severe the flu season will be, they always recommend people aged six months and older to get the vaccine. This year, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising people to get vaccinated now or whenever the flu shot becomes available in their neighborhoods.

On top of this annual recommendation, there is a new one for young children. According to Dr. Christopher Belcher, the director of infectious disease at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, children aged two to nine should get the nasal spray over the shot.

"Vaccinating children is a great way not only to prevent disease in them, but they are really where the center of this epidemic is," said Belcher according to FOX 59.

Belcher's recommendation was based on evidence that found that the nasal spray vaccine could be more effective for children in comparison to the shot. Despite this, the CDC noted that since the nasal spray is not as readily available as the shot, parents should not wait for the nasal spray. The CDC added that people should get the vaccine preferably by October. However, other experts noted that if people get the vaccine this early, the effects could fade over time, leaving people vulnerable to the flu at the end of its season.

"We call it waning immunity," Jorge P. Parada, M.D., a professor of medicine and director of the infection control program at Loyola University in Chicago, told Everyday Health. "If you get your flu shot in the beginning of September, you may start running out of protection by February or March, when the virus is still around."

Several experts have debated about what is the perfect time to get vaccinated. Generally, experts agree that October is the prime time to get the vaccine. Experts also believe that the vaccine can last longer in healthy adults. However, some state that older adults with vulnerable immune systems could benefit from getting another shot at the tail end of the season. Regardless, experts remind people that getting vaccinated at any time is still better than skipping the vaccine altogether.

The flu season typically peaks around December through to February. In some years, it has started as early as October and ended as last as May. Every year, roughly 20 percent of the population gets infected with the flu with about 36,000 fatalities.

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