If you are in a high-risk group, don’t put it off. Now is the time to get a flu shot. Physicians say the protective qualities of the vaccine are active only for 90 days or so, which means the best time for vaccination is a month or two before the influenza season begins in earnest.
And as Press staff writer Sue Guinn Legg reported in Tuesday’s paper, we are now less than two weeks away from the official start of the flu season.
Doctors urge most patients — particularly those in high-risk groups — to get a flu shot early. Between 5 percent and 20 percent of the population is stricken with influenza annually. Of that number, about 200,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu.
It’s especially important for children and the elderly to receive an annual flu shot.
“The main message we want to get out is, just because we had a light flu season last year, we don’t know what we’ll see this year and we’re recommending everyone over the age of six months get the vaccination,” Beth Radar, public relations officer for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office, told the Press this week. “That’s the best protection.”
Go to http://health.state.tn.us to learn more about this year’s strain of influenza and how to protect against it.